Court told of rapes, hangings

McKeed Kotlolo

McKeed Kotlolo

A Middelburg couple were stabbed to death, their legs bound with wire and hanged from the rafters of their home, the Middelburg circuit court heard yesterday.

This chilling encounter was related by a police witness in the trial of Johannes van Rooyen, 27, and Dumisani Makhubela, 28, who have pleaded not guilty before Judge Aubrey Ledwaba on 23 charges that include seven murders and seven rapes.

Their appearance followed the gruesome killing of Lassie Motebu, 35, his wife Nokuthula, 32, and their two daughters Mahlatse, 9, and Koketso, 8, in 2005.

Fingerprint expert and head of the Witbank criminal records centre Superintendent Anton Crawfford yesterday said he went to Motebu's house in Mhluzi, Middelburg, on May 27 2005 after reports that a crime had been committed on the premises.

He told the court that on arrival he found the body of Lassie Motebu. Both his hands and legs were bound with wire.

"He also had two stab wounds to the chest and appeared to have been hanged from the rafters of the house but the electric cord and wire used to hang him had snapped," said Crawfford.

He said the body of Motebu's wife was found hanging from the rafters in the bedroom. Both her hands and legs were also bound with wire. Next to the bed lay the body of Koketso. She had a stab wound in the neck.

Mahlatse's body was found next to the washing machine in the bathroom. There was blood between her legs. Both girls were also bound with wire, the court heard.

The only survivor of this gruesome murder was the couple's two-year-old son who was found by police in the care of neighbours away from the scene of the crime.

Crawfford said clothes were scattered all over the house and there were pieces of wire on the floor.

There was no evidence of forced entry and it seemed the Motebus had opened the door for the murderers.

Another fingerprint expert Engela Keyter told the court that she found fingerprints on the steel kitchen unit that perfectly matched those of Van Rooyen.

She also found other prints on the washing machine in the bathroom. These matched those of Makhubela.

The trial continues.