Durban — The alleged masterminds behind the killing of uMbilo bed and breakfast owner Jacqueline “Jackie” Needham are set to go on trial.
Needham’s body was found by her employees on August 10, 2022, in a vacant room at her premises, wrapped in a sheet.
This week the State outlined its case against the men, who allegedly assaulted and strangled Needham, after winning her confidence by posing as guests.
Post-mortem results revealed that Needham was strangled and had sustained various injuries.
Mzolethwa Jali, 24, Mdumiseni Gumede 21, and Bernard Langa, 22, appeared at the Durban Magistrate’s Court before presiding Magistrate Sandile Zuma, on Tuesday.
With the matter due for trial, prosecutor Denise Perumal outlined the case the State had against the accused in the indictment lodged with the court.
It was stated that they planned to call on more than 30 witnesses to support the charges against the accused.
All three face one count of murder and one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The additional charges against Jali were a count of defeating the ends of justice and another for perjury, they relate to him allegedly making a sworn statement saying that a Toyota Etios in his possession was stolen, roughly a day after Needham was killed.
Needham, 69, lived on the property on Shuter Road where she operated a B&B, and hired Langa in August 2022 to work at her establishment.
A plan was hatched among the accused to rob and kill Needham, but they had to first observe her operations so that they could devise a plan to do so.
On the day in question, the accused together with a person named “Bruce”, who is yet to be arrested, travelled to the bed and breakfast in the Toyota Etios that Gumede drove.
Jali called Needham and pretended to be looking for accommodation so that they could gain entry into her premises.
Once inside, Needham was accosted, bound, beaten and strangled. Needham’s vehicle, cellphones and other valuable items were taken.
It is believed that Jali and Bruce drove off in Needham’s Kia Picanto.
The following day, Jali reported at the uMbilo police station that the Toyota Etios was stolen during a hijacking.