metro cop FOUND guilty of murder

LIFE LOST: Jubriel Tladi, kille by Oupa Lethebe. © UNknown.
LIFE LOST: Jubriel Tladi, kille by Oupa Lethebe. © UNknown.

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

An Ekurhuleni Metro police officer who gunned down his police captain ex-fiancee at a police station was yesterday found guilty of murder.

Johannesburg high court Judge Nathan Jacobs told Superintendent Oupa Lethebe , 43, that he killed his ex-fiancee "mercilessly" while she was pleading for her life.

"She was on her knees begging but you pulled the trigger," Jacobs said.

Lethebe was found guilty of killing Jubriel Tladi, 40, at the Vosloorus police station on August 3 2005. He had found her in a car with a policeman known only as Inspector Ntabeni.

Lethebe had pleaded not guilty.

He had told the court he went to the police station to fetch Tladi so they could buy clothes for her to wear on August 8 when they went to register their marriage at the local home affairs office.

Lethebe said he did not know Tladi had ended their relationship and that she had a restraining order against him.

After Lethebe gunned down Tladi, he shot himself in the chin. He has since lost the use of his left eye. Jacobs called Lethebe an untruthful witness. He said he told the court that after the couple had an argument, and before he fired the shots, he had ended their relationship.

"You should have turned around and left as you had ended the relationship, but you did not," said Jacobs.

Jacobs said a psychologist's assessment said Tladi's murder was premeditated. He said Lethebe acted in a goal-directed manner, therefore the shooting was intentional.

Jacobs said the allegation of hijacking, a brother's death and stress at work, which Lethebe had used as his defence, did not cause him to lapse into a state of automatism.

"A person can ony lack self-control when he is in a state of automatism. After the first shot, the accused would have been out of the state of impulsiveness, " Jacobs said.

By shooting himself, Lethebe wanted to punish himself for what he had done, Jacobs said. He said there was a need to send a strong message to the community that acting out of emotional anger would not be tolerated.

"You are guilty as charged," Jacobs said.

Speaking to Sowetan outside court, Tladi's sister Polette said the family would be happy if Lethebe was locked away for a long time.

The case was postponed to September 29 and 30 for sentencing.