Four men are expected to again appear in the high court sitting at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, for allegedly attacking two couples in Rhodes Park.
On Monday, Judge Papi Masopa dismissed claims by one of the accused, Mduduzi Lawrence Mathibela, 32, that he was assaulted and coerced by police officers to make an incriminating statement on the double murder and rape at Rhodes Park.
“You are doing this because I don’t have money. If I was rich things would be different,” Mathibela said while the Judge was making a ruling on the matter that had amounted to a trial within a trial over the admissibility of the disputed statement.
Attempts by the court to stop Mathibela from talking when not requested to do so failed. The accused kept going on about how Masopa was unfair towards him.
“Officer please take Mathibela to the cell,” ordered Masopa.
“You [Mathibela] will come back when you are back to your senses.”
Mathibela and his co-accused Edmore Ndlovu, 23 and Thabo Nkala, 25, all claim they were severely assaulted and pressurised to give self incriminating statements on the crimes committed in October last year.
The three accused were allegedly part of a 12-man gang that accosted and robbed two couples on 17 October. The gang forced the husbands into the lake, where they drowned, and sexually assaulted their wives.
Both women have already told the court how they were attacked as their husbands drowned in the nearby lake.
The three men have been charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances, rape and murder. They all have pleaded not guilty to all charges. They remain remanded in custody.
The other suspects are still on the run. Reports suggest that two others have been arrested in neighbouring Zimbabwe, where they are awaiting extradition to South Africa.