U-turn on confession in trial of child 'killer'

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

The trial of Ronald Jones, the man accused of raping and killing six-year-old Michaela Ghairoenisha Lee three years ago, took a dramatic turn yesterday when he denied making a statement in which he implicated himself as the killer.

Defence advocate Mpho Milubi told the Johannesburg high court that his client knew nothing about the statement. He also said that Jones was forced to point out the crime scene.

"The accused would testify that he was assaulted and tortured by police officers unknown to him until he said yes [to the crime]," Milubi said.

Milubi's revelation came after state advocate Paul Nel indicated that he had in his possession a statement Jones made to a doctor in which he confessed to the crimes.

Nel asked that there be a trial within a trial to determine the admissibility of the statement.

Jones, 27, of Eldorado Park was arrested in December 2005, three months after the gruesome discovery of Michaela's half-naked body in the veld, metres away from her home.

She had gone missing on October 6 and her body was found the next day after a frantic search.

Inspector Daniel Oosthuizen testified that blood was still flowing from Michaela's private parts when the body was discovered.

Jones has pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, two counts of indecent assault, rape and murder. The trial continues.