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Bid to free lion's den murderer

By unknown | Oct 10, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Julia Mashele, who spent seven years awaiting trial and stirred controversy when she demanded conjugal rights behind bars, is trying to help Simon Mathebula to be released from prison.

Mashele drove from her Pretoria home to meet Mathebula at Barberton Prison in Mpumalanga on Monday.

She said she was touched by a story in Sowetanthat Mathebula's co-accused Mark Scott-Crossley had been released on parole although he had originally been jailed for life.

Scott-Crossley is doing community service at Acornhoek police station every Tuesday following his parole, while Mathebula continues with his 15-year sentence.

The appeals court reduced Scott-Crossley's life sentence to five years after concluding he had been an "accessory after the fact of murder".

Scott-Crossley, Mathebula, Richard Mathebula and Robert Mnisi threw Nelson Chisale into a den of lions, which devoured him.

This was in January 2004, when Chisale returned to Scott-Crossley's home, where he had been employed before being fired.

He wanted to collect his belongings, but was attacked with pangas, tied to a tree and later thrown into the lion enclosure.

Mnisi turned state witness and Richard Mathebula died in prison from what police said was tuberculosis. But Simon Mathebula this week disputed this.

"That man died of slow poisoning. I should have died with him but luckily I did not eat the food that Scott-Crossley supplied him. Even the warders know it was poison, but some people are keeping that a secret," SimonMathebula told Mashele.

Two prison warders who listened to the conversation confirmed Mathebula's allegations about the poison.

Mathebula claimed that he did not take part in either assaulting Chisale or throwing him into the lion's enclosure because Scott-Crossley had locked him in his house when the incident happened.

"I'm still surprised as to why I was sentenced but the mastermind behind the whole thing is now home," said Mathebula.

Mashele told Mathebula that God had sent her to assist him. "I just wanted to get your facts before trying to force Scott-Crossley to pay for your legal fees on a re-trial or appeal," Mashele told Mathebula.


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