"The patient had suffered first-degree burns and some second-degree burns but the majority were first-degree burns.”
FIRST-degree and some second-degree burn wounds were observed on 14-year-old Nthabeleng Mogadile who was allegedly set alight inside her home, along with her mother and other siblings, by her father.
Ntahbeleng’s father, Daniel Dipheko, is accused of setting his family alight inside their home in Promised Land during the early hours of December 13, 2018.
Dipheko is standing trial in the Northern Cape High Court and faces two murder charges after his wife, Abigail Mogadile, died in the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital on December 14, 2018 while his 18-year-old son, Tshepo Mogadile, also succumbed to his burn injuries in hospital the next day on December 15, 2018. He is also charged with arson and a further two counts of attempted murder after his two daughters, 14-year-old Nthabeleng and seven-year-old Tshepiso, sustained burn wounds in the incident.
Doctor Bijou Salence told the court on Friday that she observed burn injuries to Nthabeleng’s back and that the clothes she had on that day smelled of petrol.
“I examined the patient at the Gateway Centre at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital on December 13, 2018. The patient was able to communicate with me. I observed that the clothes of the patient smelled of petrol. She had a burn wound on her back which stretched to the buttocks. The entire back, from the shoulder to the buttocks, the superficial skin was off. She also had a burn wound to the elbow. The patient had suffered first-degree burns and some second-degree burns but the majority were first-degree burns,” said Salence.
She added that the wounds on the teenager were not life-threatening and she was discharged.
The police officer who arrested Dipheko, Captain Othusitse Moselane, told the court that he also noticed burn injuries on the accused at the time of his arrest.
Moselane said that Dipheko was arrested a day after the incident as he had been on the run.
“We had been looking for the accused on the day of the incident. We went to look for him at his parental home on December 13, 2018 and again returned to the house the next day. He was not there. We also went to look for him at his house in Kutlwanong but did not find him there. We dispatched members to different places and later received information that the accused was consulting with a doctor in Homestead. I went to the consulting rooms and after knocking once went inside, where I found the accused and the doctor. I introduced myself and explained the reason for my presence. I then placed the accused under arrest and read him his rights. Thereafter, I conducted a body search and noticed he had a burn wound to his left hand and his wrist,” said Moselane.
He stated that Dipheko had held his head with both his hands when he was informed that his wife and son had died.
Moselane said more injuries were noted on Dipheko when he was taken to the Kagisho police station.
“The accused had an injury to his left upper arm. His left side of the waist also had a burn wound. His left outer-hand and part of his ear was dark and it is suspected it was scorched,” he said.
The matter was postponed to February next year. Dipheko will remain in custody.