Monday, 15 March 2010

'He was already dead'

March 10 2010 at 02:20PM

By Sherlissa Peters

Keeping her composure, the mother of murdered Thistle Hotel manager Mark Truter yesterday described how she found the body of her son on March 25, 2008.

Paulette Truter testified in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in the trial of two men accused of killing her son.

Wiseman Ndlovu and Sphelele Ngubo are charged with murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A fourth accused, Snothi Ndlovu, was an employee at the hotel and was alleged to have been the mastermind behind the attack.

Ndlovu had worked in the hotel's pub for two years and returned to work after the killing. He has since died in custody. A fourth suspect is still at large.

Truter, 38, was killed after four robbers attacked him in his room at the hotel, just after midnight.

The State alleges that the men planned to rob the hotel after Snothi Ndlovu stole a security disc that would allow them access to the premises.

It is alleged that Snothi interrupted Truter in his bedroom that night, telling him there was an electricity problem in the hotel.

When Truter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, opened the door, the robbers attacked him, throttled him and then bound his ankles and arms with duct tape. They also gagged Truter, taping his entire face from beneath his eyes to his chin, covering his nose and mouth, which prevented him from breathing.

The attackers then got the keys to the safe and removed R35 726, two digital cameras and a cellphone.

Paulette Truter said when she got the phone call about her son on the morning of the murder, she immediately rushed to the hotel, which she and her husband own. "I found him lying on the floor, bound with duct tape," she said.

Truter said that the duct tape around her son's face was so tight against his skin that she could not even get a finger through.

"The tape had to be cut off his face, but he was already dead," she said.

The case continues today.

At 38, Truter was one of the oldest known surviving sufferers of cystic fibrosis, a disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems.


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