Guilty verdict for killers of Verulam farm couple

Dhir Roy Singh, left, and Kallawathie Beekarie.

Dhir Roy Singh, left, and Kallawathie Beekarie.

Published Oct 13, 2023


Durban — The Durban High Court has found three men guilty of the murders of a Verulam couple who were killed during a robbery at their farm in September 2018.

Thobelani Manqele, 25, Sphiwe Shezi, 23, and 21-year-old Ndawo Ndlovu are alleged to have broken into the Cottonlands Farm home of Dhir “Roy” Singh, 68, and Kallawathie Beekarie, 65.

Singh was stabbed several times with his fishing spear on the neck and chest while Beekarie was forced into the bathroom tub, her hands tied behind her back, forced to kneel and strangled with cables.

Their bodies were found in the locked bathroom of their home.

Several items were allegedly stolen from the couple’s home including a green Toyota Conquest, cellphones, a TV, hi-fi, a pellet rifle, a DVD player, a beach umbrella, meat and a microwave.

Initially, there were five accused, however, the State withdrew charges against the first two.

Siyabonga Emmanuel Nhlengethwa and Bonginkosi Freedom Mkhize became the State’s 204 witnesses in the trial.

A third State witness who had been with the five the whole night drinking but did not go inside the couple’s house also testified.

In her verdict on Thursday Judge Carol Sibiya said that the court is satisfied that the State had proved the case against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt and that the accused were acting in common purpose.

She said the three state witnesses were consistent about hearing the accused talking about killing the people at the Cottonlands house.

“There were a number of contradictions in their evidence but there were consistency when it came to the material aspect. Having accepted that there was alcohol being consumed at the time it is not surprising that their evidence would not be clearly identical. It is fortunate that the evidence of these three finds corroboration in other evidence before the court such as the evidence of the fingerprint expert which was that accused one (Manqele) and accused two’s (Shezi) fingerprints were found inside the home where the murder took place,” said Sibiya.

Manqele during the trial denied making a confession to police saying it was done under duress which then saw a trial within a trial unfold however the court found that the confession was admissible as evidence.

“The confession of accused one corroborates the three state witnesses…”

Earlier Sibiya went through evidence that was presented to the court during the trial. This included evidence from the investigating officer Warrant Officer Kelvin Moodley. He told the court that police came to know through Manqele’s confession that the spear used in the murder belonged to Singh.

“He said that he found the spear behind a door of the deceased’s house and it was sharp,” read Sibiya.

Moodley arrested all five accused. On 11 September 2018 at 13.00 after investigations he went to Amaoti where he arrested Nhlengethwa. Sibiya told the court that Moodley conducted a search of the house and recovered a TV and the DVD player.

“From there he was directed to Mkhize’s house, a beach umbrella was found on the premises as well as a hi-fi. From there he proceeded to KwaMamba store where he arrested Manqele. Nothing was found in his possession. He was then directed to Nhlengethwa’s house and in his room, the license disc for the Conquest was found,” read Sibiya.

She said Moodley testified that in the evening he was directed to a house in Ndwedwe where he found Mkhize.

“He said a search was conducted and a black Nokia phone was found in his pocket. He was then directed to Cottonlands where Ndlovu was arrested, and a black and orange Samsung was seized from the bed. Ndlovu’s family members were present as he was still underage (15)...”

The matter was adjourned to November for the preparation of pre-sentencing reports.

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