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Siam Lee murder accused silent on rape‚ kidnapping and theft allegations

Murdered Siam Lee and her mother Carmen Nans Lee.
Murdered Siam Lee and her mother Carmen Nans Lee.

The man accused of the kidnapping and murder of escort Siam Lee refused to answer questions about the alleged rape of a sex worker in 2016 in the Durban Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

The 29-year-old businessman faces charges of kidnapping and murder relating to Lee‚ who disappeared from a Durban North brothel in January. The charred remains of her body were found in a sugarcane field near New Hanover two days after she vanished.

The man - prone to vocal exchanges with prosecutor Surekha Marimuthoo - was mum as allegations were fired at him in the witness box. He cannot be named until he pleads to the rape charge.

After a fiery exchange between the man and Marimuthoo on allegations that he’d been tortured during his arrest and detention‚ he appeared to close rank when questioned on the specifics of each charge.

He refused to answer questions put to him‚ stating simply that he “declined to comment because of the merits”.

Marimuthoo then detailed allegations that form the basis of rape‚ kidnapping and theft charges - put forward by another sex worker in 2016.

“The state will allege that you came to her place of work after contacting her through the Red Velvet website. It is alleged that you threatened her with a gun and forced her into your car‚” she said.

“You forced her to strip naked in the vehicle and then you drove her to your place in Shongweni. At the premises you proceeded to rape her‚” she added.

Marimuthoo accused the man of stealing two cell phones belonging to the escort. She also accused him of using a racist slur and vulgar language towards her.

The alleged killer nodded in response to each point‚ and reiterated his refusal to answer.

The sex worker had reported the matter to the police‚ with the man only charged after he was arrested with links to the disappearance of Lee. The Sunday Times reported that Siam Lee had reached out to an organisation that assists sex workers‚ pleading for their help in the weeks before her murder. She detailed her despair of having to lead a double life while moving from one brothel to another‚ all the while maintaining a façade for her family and friends.

The bail application continues on Thursday.

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