March 24 2009 at 10:09AM
The man accused of killing Elize Havenga, who was raped and then strangled with wire near the Bronkhorstspruit farm where she lived with her husband, has told the Pretoria High Court that he did not mean to kill her, but wanted only to keep her busy while he fled.
Mpiya Richard Rammutla, 30, of Bronkhorstspruit, on Monday pleaded guilty to raping and robbing Havenga in February last year, but denied that he murdered her.
On that day, Havenga had an argument with her husband. She stormed out of the house and later asked her brother to come and fetch her.
She asked him to take her back to the farm, but told him to drop her at the road leading to the farm so that she could walk home.
'I went up to her and grabbed her from behind'
She was overpowered by Rammutla, who had said in a statement to police that he was waiting along the road for a taxi.
Rammutla said he was a few metres behind Havenga when he "started to think wrong things".
"I went up to her and grabbed her from behind. My one hand was over her throat and the other on her chest."
He dragged her into nearby bushes. "She told me I could take her ring, but I was not interested."
Rammutla said the woman became weak from his grip around her neck.
'I took it and tied it around her neck and made a knot at the back'
"She was very scared and did not shout. I felt she had no more power. I let her lie down and had sex with her. It was only once."
He said Havenga then told him she was going to have him arrested.
"I saw a wire lying next to her. I took it and tied it around her neck and made a knot at the back. I grabbed her handbag and ran away," he said. Later, Rammutla said, he went to fetch his wife, who was at a church in Marabastad. He sold the camera and cellphone that were in the handbag for R700.
On Monday, his lawyer asked him who was responsible for Havenga's death. Rammutla answered: "I was."
He added that he did not have the intention to kill her, but wanted only to silence her for a while. He said this was because she threatened to have him arrested.
"I thought that after I had left, she would untie the wire. I just wanted the opportunity to leave."
Looking at a picture of Havenga's body, he agreed with the State that the wire was so tight that it sank into her flesh.
Rammutla was arrested only seven months after the murder.
It later emerged that his DNA matched the swabs taken from Havenga on the scene.
Captain Steven Hermitage testified on Monday that the police had the name of the accused as well as his picture and DNA samples they had collected on the scene, but had no idea where he was staying. One of his detectives was a keen horsewoman and seven months after the crime, she was buying bales of hay in the area, Hermitage said.
Rammutla helped to load the hay, and the detective immediately recognised him from the picture.
Judgment will be delivered today.
This article was originally published on page 5 of Pretoria News on March 24, 2009