It was possible that Karabo Mokoena was alive when her boyfriend Sandile Mantsoe put a tyre around her‚ doused her with petrol and pool acid before setting her alight in a ditch in Lyndhurst in April‚ the Johannesburg High Court heard on Friday.
Delivering his arguments‚ prosecutor John Metswamere told the court that Mantsoe had practically pleaded guilty to defeating the ends of justice when he confessed to burning her body.
Through his affidavit‚ Mantsoe had informed the court that he had destroyed Mokoena’s body after finding that she had committed suicide in his Sandton apartment.
He claimed that he had already been painted as an abusive lover and out of fear and panic‚ decided to destroy her body.
But Metswamere highlighted that there were holes in Mantsoe’s story. “There are certain aspects that we thought he would reveal to this court which he did not‚” said Metswamere.
“He did not disclose that when he got to his apartment and found that she was dead‚ what position was she was in. Was the deceased hanging? Did she hang herself? Did he notice if the deceased took an overdose?” he asked.
Metswamere questioned how Mantsoe concluded that the deceased was dead. “There is no evidence before the court that this applicant is a paramedic who could certify someone dead‚” he said.
An integral part of the State’s case stems from the affidavit of the investigating officer. In it‚ he claimed that Mantsoe had told police that he had killed Mokoena in order to break a jinx between the two of them.
He alleged that Mantsoe and Mokoena had entered into a blood covenant which would see his force business prospering. When the two of them separated‚ his business started to suffer and he needed to kill her to break the bond.
There was however‚ no confession statement from Mantsoe detailing this. Arguing for his client to be released on bail‚ Victor Simelane‚ dismissed the investigating officer’s statement as “mumbo jumbo”.
“ As the matter stands‚ the State does not actually show a strong case against the applicant‚” said Simelane.
“Further to that‚ there are no reasons from the States case which indicate that the accused is a flight risk. The very motive which has been citied in this matter clearly does not make sense‚” Simelane added.
He dismissed allegations that Mantsoe’s business deteriorated following his split with Mokoena.
Commenting on Mantsoe’s alleged confession‚ Simelane said: “The accused in this matter has clearly indicated that he disposed of the body but he did not kill the deceased.”
He also highlighted that while the State had wanted Mantsoe kept behind bars in order to protect witnesses in the case‚ the State had not mentioned who their witnesses are‚ neither had they handed in any affidavits from witnesses.
“Up until now‚ there is no mention of the post mortem of the deceased‚” Simelane also said.
Mokoena’s family had reported her missing on April 29.
Pictures of the 22-year-old were circulated around social media with her family and friends begging for assistance in finding her.
At the time‚ police had not linked the charred remains found in Lyndhurst on April 28‚ to Mokoena.