Two suspected ritual killers who grisly hacksawed their victim in two halves, before buying a drum and hydrochloric acid used to dispose of the victim’s body for purposes of getting rich, on Monday appeared in court for the first time facing murder charges.
The suspects, Tawana Ngwenya (20) and his teenage accomplice who cannot be named for ethical reasons, are accused of being responsible for the murder of a 25-year-old woman, Thabelo Mazolo.
Bulawayo magistrate Shepherd Mnjanja remanded Ngwenya in custody to June 26 while the teenager was remanded in the custody of his uncle who stays with him.
The accused teenager was also told to report at Nkulumane Police Station once a week.
It is alleged that on the fateful day, Ngwenya and Mazolo were watching a movie when the former thrice struck the later with an iron bar in the head. And, realising that Mazolo had not died, Ngwenya reportedly slit her throat with a knife.
In a bid to conceal the gruesome crime he had committed, Ngwenya whose father is a caretaker at Fortunes Gate Village where Mazolo also lived, roped in a 17-year-old boy who provided him with a hacksaw used to cut the victim into parts.
Part of the deceased’s body, from the waist going down, is still missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off.
Prosecuting, Mr Terrence Chakabuda said on June 10 at about 7am, the deceased’s body was found inside a 200-litre drum of acid and it was in an advanced state of decomposition
Missing from the decomposing body were the right breast, right arm and the lower torso.
“When police attended the scene, they observed that there was a grey bag which had blood stained clothes,” said Mr Chakabuda.
The prosecutor also told the court that investigations showed that Ngwenya, who used to stay with the deceased had disappeared soon after Mazolo was reported missing.
“Information was gathered that Ngwenya had gone to Harare where his mother stays. Police detectives in Bulawayo contacted their counterparts in Harare leading to Ngwenya’s arrest on June 11,” he said.
Ngwenya has since confessed to killing Mazolo.
Further investigations by the police also led to the discovery of two cellphones, a belt, three handbags, a purse, one pair of canvas shoes, five jackets, two jerseys, one sweater, one bra and a t-shirt all belonging to the deceased.
Her body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where post mortem results showed that the had succumbed to brain damage, resulting from depressed skull fracture and assault.
Upon being interrogated by detectives from Bulawayo CID homicide on June 12, Ngwenya then implicated his teenage accomplice who was also arrested over the weekend.
He reportedly claimed that the 17-year-old co-accused assisted him to buy the drum and 25 kilogrammes of hydrochloric acid used to dispose of the victim’s body.
“The second accused (teenager) also participated in putting the deceased’s body in the drum and provided a hacksaw, which was used to cut off the top part of the drum.
He however, could not account for the missing body parts, which he said were dissolved in the acid,” the court heard.
After Ngwenya was taken to the scene for indications, a silver iron rod, which he allegedly used to strike Mazolo on the head three times before slitting her throat, was also recovered.
Ngwenya admits that he, indeed killed Mazolo.
“After striking her, I dragged her off the couch and when I realised that she was not dead, I went to the cottage and took a knife and finished her off by cutting her throat,” stated Ngwenya in a warned and cautioned statement.
Ngwenya also revealed that, after committing the cold-blooded murder, he wrapped the deceased’s head using a plastic bin bag to avoid blood stains on the carpet while dragging the body.
He said he left the body in the toilet before he stole US$400 from her handbag.
The money was used the following morning by Ngwenya and his accomplice to buy the acid and the drum in town.
While admitting that he assisted in looking for the hydrochloric acid and drum, the teenager denied in participating in Mazolo’s murder in a warned and cautioned statement.
The 17-year-old however admitted to providing the hacksaw and lifting the horror drum used in disposing part of the victim’s body.