Serial killer used social media: State
Share this article:
Durban - A policeman described on Monday how he came across the grisly murder scene of one of three victims of an alleged oThongati serial killer whose body had been dumped in a sugar cane plantation.
The corpse was badly burnt, the victim had her mouth gagged and her hands and neck were tied together with rope.
Warrant Officer Ricky Govender said this as the trial of Sphiwe Patrick Khoza, 36, got under way at the Durban High Court on Monday, where he is facing three counts of murder, three of robbery with aggravating circumstances, one of rape and five counts of theft.
Khoza has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
According to the indictment, Khoza is alleged to have killed between May and June 2013 in various areas of oThongati.
His first victim was Phindile Ndlovu, a 44-year-old domestic worker from Hillcrest, whom he is alleged to have raped and murdered in the Kwatiba area on May 31, 2013.
Khoza’s second victim was Philisiwe Hlatshwayo, whom he is alleged to have robbed and killed in Amanzinyama on June 7, 2013.
His third victim was Bongiwe Majozi, a schoolteacher, whom he is alleged to have killed and robbed of her belongings on June 22, 2013, near Harry’s Farm in Hambanathi.
The indictment reads that Khoza, of oThongathi, lured all the woman separately via social media.
He is alleged to have met Ndlovu and taken her to a bushy area in Kwatiba where he allegedly assaulted her, robbed her of her cellphone, then raped her.
He is alleged to have subsequently strangled her and bound her hands and neck, then covered her body with plantation branches and left. Her body was found three days later.
He is further said to have used the same modus operandi on his two other victims, allegedly strangling, robbing and also burning their bodies.
The post-mortem results revealed that Ndlovu and Hlatshwayo were strangled, while Majozi’s cause of death could not be determined because her body was so badly burnt.
Advocate Cheryl Naidu, for the State, called witness Beesar Mohan, an employee of Tongaat Hulett Sugar, who told Judge Piet Koen how his sugarcane fire response team discovered the body of Hlatshwayo.
“I was on standby that day near the Amazinyama area. We were on alert for cane fires and cane theft. We responded to a fire in the fields. After extinguishing the fire, we noticed something still burning nearby. I saw it was a person. The hands were strapped, head facing down and shoes alight. The cane was flattened and placed over the body,” Mohan said.
A second witness, Warrant Officer Govender of Tongaat SAPS, described Hlatshwayo’s body as being badly burnt with her mouth gagged and hands tied to her neck.
The trial continues this week.