Mathew Naidoo changed his plea to guilty for murdering a Durban couple, as he had helped to cover up evidence afterwards, he said on Monday.
“But I did not cause the death of these people... I want this trial to be over,” he told Durban High Court Judge Shyam Gyanda.
He said he did not plan the murder of Maria Magdalena “Riekie” Lotter, 52, or that of her husband Johannes Petrus Lotter, 53, in their Westville home on July 19, 2008. And he was not there when they were killed, Naidoo said.
The 25-year-old changed his plea from not guilty earlier in the day. He told the court he wanted to “completely confess” to the crime. The court adjourned to allow him time to make a detailed statement to his lawyer, Vijay Sivakumoor.
But when the trial, now in its third week, resumed, his lawyer said he had a problem understanding Naidoo's guilty plea. Naidoo then told the court he had not killed the Lotters, although he had pleaded guilty.
“What makes you say you were guilty of the crime?” the judge asked.
“I tried to cover it up,” Naidoo replied.
The judge said that did not make him guilty of murder. Naidoo said he had not known which way to turn and was in a stressful situation.
“I am breaking down. I am not trying to mislead the court, but sometimes I don't know what to say,” he said.
The court rejected his guilty plea and cross-examination continued.
Prosecutor Sheriza Ramoutha said at the very least Naidoo was probably guilty of being an accessory as he had covered up evidence. She asked for his R20,000 bail to be revoked. Naidoo pleaded with the court not to do so, saying he would not abscond. The judge said that in the interests of justice, Naidoo's bail would be revoked. Naidoo was then led down to the cells.
His two co-accused, Nicolette Lotter, 29, who was Naidoo's girlfriend at the time of the murders, and her brother Hardus, 23, have pleaded not guilty to the murder of their parents, saying they were under Naidoo's influence. He told them he was the third son of God and that it was God's will that their parents should die. - Sapa