Home News Investigating officer takes stand in Segami murder trial

Investigating officer takes stand in Segami murder trial

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The investigating officer was the first to take the stand in the Relebogile Segami murder trial in the Kimberley High Court.

Accused Itumeleng Machabe with advocate Sakkie Nel. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE INVESTIGATING officer (IO), Sergeant Gwyneth Paulsen, was the first to take the stand in the Relebogile Segami rape and murder trial in the Kimberley High Court.

The trial kicked off on October 18 with the accused, Itumeleng Machabe, facing 19 charges.

Among the charges that Machabe is facing are rape, fraud, crimen injuria, attempted extortion, child pornography, attempted murder and murder.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Paulsen took the stand after the first victim, a 17-year-old girl, was unable to testify due to a technical glitch.

The IO told the court that she was in charge of investigating the cases of three of the victims, who were still underage at the time of the alleged crimes.

The cases date back to 2013.

Over three days, Paulsen delivered her testimony and was cross-examined by State advocate Adele van Heerden under the watchful eye of Judge Cecile Willams.

Paulsen told the court that she has been serving in the South African Police Service since 2010 and in the Serial Electronic Crime Investigation unit in Kimberley for four years.

She explained that she works with the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit and deals with child pornography.

She told the court that she was assigned to the case after a parent of one of the victims told her that her minor daughter had been receiving threats from another girl.

Paulsen explained that the victim was threatened that her nude photos would be posted on social media platforms.

She said the mother asked for the police to investigate the matter because her daughter wanted to commit suicide.

Paulsen said that during her investigation of the case, she had seized electronic devices from the suspect, his mother, the three victims and a friend of the suspect.

She said the devices, including six cellphones and a memory stick, were all sealed in separate forensic evidence bags, labelled and locked in a steel cabinet at her workplace.

She noted all the different seal numbers in her statement, which she compiled and signed June 5, 2020.

The devices were then handed to the Cyber Crime Investigation unit for assistance with the extraction of information.

Paulsen added that she also gave the unit an external hard drive for all the information to be loaded on.

She highlighted that the information retrieved from the phones was too much and too sensitive to print out on paper, as it included nude pictures of underage girls, and she thus presented the unit with the external hard drive.

She noted that a Cellebrite report was compiled, which contained the information extracted from the electronic devices.

The report consists of images, messages, videos and audios and text messages.

Paulsen told the court that the first victim received a Facebook friend request from someone known as “Prudy Femme Ivy”, who introduced herself as an underage lesbian who attended Technical High School and lived in West End, Kimberley.

“The victim accepted the friend request and started chatting with Prudy. The victim took a screenshot of the profile pic of Prudy,” said Paulsen.

She revealed to the court that she later identified the girl whose picture was used on Prudy Femme Ivy’s profile picture as the girl whom the victim had made a complaint against.

“While they continued to chat, Prudy sent the victim a picture in normal clothes, which she said was of herself, and requested the victim to do the same.”

The victim responded by telling Prudy to take pictures from her profile.

“The victim said Prudy did not want those pictures and requested others. The victim then sent Prudy a photo of herself in her school uniform, where there were other learners in school uniform carrying school bags visible in the background.

“After the exchange of these photos, Prudy then requested the victim that they exchange photos of each other with exposed breasts.

“Prudy sent a picture of a girl whose breasts were visible and said that it was of herself.

“The victim then told Prudy that she does not feel comfortable doing such a thing on Facebook.

“Prudy then asked for the victim’s WhatsApp number and she complied. The victim sent her number to Prudy, which was also her cellphone number.”

Paulsen said Prudy then greeted the victim and introduced herself on her WhatsApp account. She also reminded her to send the nude pictures.

“The victim sent a picture of herself, displaying her breasts and with her face hidden, but Prudy wanted one with her face in it.

“At a later stage, Prudy sent the victim a nude picture exposing her face, breasts and genitals, and asked her to send the same of herself, posing in the exact same posture.

“She asked for a picture of her with her face, breasts, legs, thighs and an open p**** in it.”

Paulsen said the victim did so, with the agreement that Prudy delete the pictures afterwards.

Prudy then asked that the victim to date her male cousin and she sent a picture of a man, whom she said was her cousin.

The State later learned that the picture was that of the accused, Itumeleng Machabe.

“The victim refused, stating that the cousin looked much older than her and that she was only 15 years old.

“Prudy then sent nude pictures that she had previously sent to the victim, asking her what she would do if they were trending on social media.

“Prudy also sent photos of other girls and told her that she had trended the photos of the girls who did not co-operate.

“Prudy also told the victim that she would refrain from posting the photos if the victim dated her cousin and if she sent her a photo of her inserting a pencil into her anus.”

Paulsen said that the victim agreed to date the cousin and Prudy provided her with the Facebook name of the cousin, “Seth Issa Angel Anae”, whom the victim sent an invite to on Facebook.

The victim also confirmed with Prudy that she had invited the cousin on Facebook.

When Prudy insisted that the victim send her a photo of her inserting a pencil in her anus, the victim reported the incident to her mother.

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