Court slams ‘serial killer’s trial delay

Lindokuhle Rowan Mwethu Beni. Picture: Supplied

Lindokuhle Rowan Mwethu Beni. Picture: Supplied

Published May 16, 2024


Durban — The magistrate presiding over the trial of a man suspected of being a serial rapist and killer operating in the Queensburgh area has warned of a looming inquiry should there be any further delays in the matter.

The trial which began in February had been postponed two consecutive times and Tuesday was the third.

Eight witnesses were at court, all of them police officers, ready to testify in the trial. However, another prosecutor reported to the court that the prosecutor dealing with the trial was ill and unavailable.

Lindokuhle Rowan Mwethu Beni, 45, who pleaded not guilty, is charged with housebreaking with the intent to rape, housebreaking with the intent to steal, robbery and rape -- he is suspected of being an alleged serial rapist and murderer.

The charges against him were the only cases the State was able to pin on him with evidence.

He had previously been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of rape and house robbery.

However, he had the two murders provisionally withdrawn while the State continued investigating.

It is said that the accused had made it hard for police to identify him in the past as he cleaned the scene, including his victims -- with sanitiser -- after the crime to eliminate DNA.

He had also allegedly gone to the lengths of biting his fingertips in a bid to not leave any evidence, and also making it impossible for police to take his fingerprints upon arrest in the past.

The two murder charges that were provisionally withdrawn against the man relate to Malvern residents, 40-year-old Evidence Ntombifikile Seager, and 72-year-old Savithree Moodley.

In August last year, Seager’s body was found not far from her home.

She had been stabbed 12 times in the chest and had handcuffs around her ankles. She was allegedly raped.

Items allegedly stolen from Seager’s home were found on the accused when he was arrested.

Moodley was found murdered in October last year in her home with stab wounds to her chest.

“The court sees that this trial has been delayed repeatedly; this is concerning and the court is marking it final for postponement.

“Should there be any further delays in the continuation of this trial the court will order that an inquiry be held,” magistrate Siphiwe Hlophe said on Tuesday.

He stressed that the day had been set aside just for this trial. Hlophe asked the prosecutor if she could not lead the witness for the sake of progress, however, the prosecutor indicated that she was not familiar with the matter.

“The court will have to order an inquiry if the matter can't proceed for any reason going forward.

“If the court finds anyone responsible they will be dealt with accordingly. The witnesses and complainant are in limbo waiting for finalisation of the matter. If one prosecutor is sick another has to stand in,” said Hlophe.

The case was postponed to next week.

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