Woman held suspect at gunpoint
20/02/2007 21:07 - (SA)
Pretoria - A woman confronted her neighbour's killer and prevented his escape from the murder scene until police arrived, Pretoria High Court heard on Tuesday.
Sonette Botha testified in the trial of a former law student, 23-year-old Lebogang Frank Mohlakoana, who pleaded not guilty to murdering and robbing Botha's neighbour, William Henry Thomas on May 8 2005.
The State alleges Mohlakoana had attacked Thomas with a knife and a dumbbell before cutting off his private parts.
He allegedly had loaded a television set and hi-fi into Thomas's car and was trying to flee when police arrested him.
Police found Thomas's naked body in a pool of blood inside the house and his private parts under a dressing table.
He had died of head injuries and loss of blood.
Botha testified that she had heard people talking and the front door to Thomas' house inside their security complex being slammed several times earlier that evening.
When her dog started barking furiously about an hour later, she went to investigate and saw a man, dressed only in shorts, coming out of Thomas's house with a television set and loading it into Thomas's car.
The man went back into the house, but when her dog started barking again, Botha went outside and this time saw the man loading a hi-fi into the car.
She thought it was a housebreaking and went to fetch her firearm while asking her husband to phone the police.
She confronted the man, but he ran away. She followed and fired a warning shot, which made the man go back into Thomas's house.
Before he slammed the door, she saw the body lying on the floor.
Preventing an escape
By then, another neighbour had come to help her and the two of them guarded the back and front of the house to stop the killer escaping.
The man tried to jump over a wall, but went back into the house when Botha warned him that she was going to shoot.
She said saw the light being switched on in the main bedroom and bathroom and heard someone taking a shower.
She stayed on guard outside the house until the police called her and she saw the same man lying outside on the porch fully dressed.
Mohlakoana 'not seen before'
Botha said she had never seen the man at the complex.
Thomas's mother, Gertruida, testified that she had spoken to her son on the morning of his death, when he wished her a happy mother's day, but had not seen him again.
Counsel for Mohlakoana stated that he had known Thomas well and often visited him at his house, but Mrs Thomas said she had not met Mohlakoana before.