Monday, 18 February 2008

Men on trial for boiling-water death

Baldwin Ndaba

February 18 2008 at 08:33AM

The trial of two men who allegedly killed their victim by repeatedly pouring boiling water over her head was due to start in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday.

The state alleges that Isaac Moka, 46, and Sibusiso Phakathi, 35, both of Alexandra, north of Joburg, committed their sadistic attack in a house in Buckingham Avenue, Craighall Park, on April 20 last year.

They are charged with murder, housebreaking with intent to rob, two counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

On the advice of the police, homeowner Sandy Staats' friend - whose identity is known to The Star - has chosen to remain silent about their brutal ordeal, but is expected to take the stand only if the accused deny the charges against them.

The two were allegedly enraged when they thought the 68-year-old Staats had lied to them about there being no guns on the property.

Staats died 10 days later at Chris Hani-Baragwanath hospital as a result of burns, pneumonia and renal failure.

Staats and the friend were in the house when the armed robbers stormed in and demanded money and guns.

Despite the sadistic nature of the attack, details were not released by the police - not even to the local community policing forum.

Details emerged only when news of Staats' death became known.

Last year, Penny Steyn, a friend of the dead woman, told The Star that the robbers grabbed the two women and tied their hands behind their backs.

Their ankles were also bound before they were dragged to the bathroom.

"They put something over their heads and tied ropes around their necks. They then demanded money, guns and jewellery."

The accused apparently went berserk when they found bullets in one of the drawers in the house, after Staats had said she had no firearms.

"Sandy told them she had handed the guns to the police and then offered them her credit cards. She also told them where her jewellery was," Steyn said.

The men then boiled some water and carried it to the - bathroom, where they repeatedly poured it over Staats, in full view of the other woman.

One of the neighbours became aware of the drama after hearing Staats' dog barking.

"The neighbour tried to contact Sandy, but didn't get a reply on her cellphone. She then alerted the police before ringing the doorbell.

"Police arrived and surrounded the house. They noticed one of the robbers jumping over the neighbour's fence and arrested him," Steyn said.


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