Home News Hartswater accused deny seeing any blood or bodies

Hartswater accused deny seeing any blood or bodies

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An accused, Tshepaone Melato, who was charged for the abduction and brutal murders of the Brand family near Hartswater in July 2020, has denied seeing any blood or bodies.

Murder accused Tshepaone Melato, Kgomotso Mpumlwana, Tshepo Visagie and Donald Seolesang appeared in the Northern Cape High Court this week. Picture Soraya Crowie

Tshepaone Melato, one of the accused in the trial for the brutal murders of the Brand family near Hartswater in July 2020, has denied seeing any blood or bodies. Melato was charged with abduction and murder.

Danie, 83, Breggie, 73, and Elsabe Brand, 54, were killed on July 26, 2020. Their bodies were left in the veld near Takaneng village and concealed in a cave near a natural spring.

A red Nissan Micra and a silver Mazda CX5 were also taken from the family smallholding.

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The accused – Donald Seolesang, Tshepo Visagie, Kgomotso Mpumlwane, and Melato – are facing three charges of murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice.

Melato testified that he had never seen any blood on the vehicle that he, along with his co-accused, had discovered in the quarry when they went hunting in the veld.

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“We found the keys in the ignition and saw two laptops and two cellphones inside the Mazda. I never saw any bodies in the Mazda,” he said.

He stated that they drove to Takaneng village where they washed the car in Diretsaneng.

“We went to sell the laptops and cellphones in Vaaltyn. We did not discuss for how much the items should be sold,” Melato said..

“We went with Mpulwana to fetch the children in Rooiwal and were stopped by the police. A shot was fired and they overpowered us and set the dogs to bite us. I regained consciousness at the police station in Hartswater,” he added.

Mpulwana indicated that she had scolded the child who took a selfie of her on the cellphone that belonging to one of the deceased family members.

Mpulwana, meanwhile, said that she was under the impression that the cellphones belonged to Seolesang.

Kgomotso Mpumlwane. Picture Soraya Crowie

“He gave me two cellphones and a laptop to charge. I locked it up as the children were playing with it. I reprimanded the child as she took the photograph by surprise. I was smiling because I was jiving,” Mpulwana said.

She added that she had requested her co-accused to make use of the Mazda to fetch the children in Rooiwal.

“It was full of dust and I told them to wash it. I told my brother that we were going to fetch pigs as he disliked the children. We were arrested on the road. I didn’t know who the motor vehicle belonged to.”

State advocate Mary-Ann Engelbrecht stated that Mpulwana had taken ownership of the cellphone that belonged to a member of the Brand family.

“The deceased’s handbag was inside the laptop bag.”

She questioned why Melato had not searched the Nissan Micra for valuables.

“How were his fingerprints found on the Nissan Micra if he claimed that he had not touched the motor vehicle?” Engelbrecht asked.

“How did the blood of Danie Brand land up on Melato’s shoes?”

Tshepo Visagie. Picture Soraya Crowie

Engelbrecht pointed out that the vehicle had to be washed as it was covered in the blood of the deceased.

“The road to Takaneng and Diretsaneng is a gravel road where the car would become dusty. An eyewitness saw blood coming out of the boot when it was washed,” Engelbrecht added.

The case will continue on July 4 before acting Judge Cordelia Kgopa.

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