The three are facing seven charges including murder, four charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder
COMMUNITY members packed the Galeshewe Magistrate’s Court yesterday as the three alleged members of the Destruction Boyz gang, who have been accused of killing a 16-year-old city pupil for his designer shoes, were denied bail.
Kimberley Boys’ High School pupil Tshepiso Thompson was killed in the early hours of the morning on March 31. He and his friend Tau Motaung were returning home from a party when they were allegedly attacked by members of the Destruction Boyz. Thompson was stabbed to death. Both Thompson and Motaung’s shoes were stolen during the attack.
Phemelo Matlakala, 25, Godfrey Mothobi, 25, and Thabo Crutse, 29, appeared in court yesterday to formally apply for bail.
The three are facing seven charges including murder, four charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances and attempted murder.
It is believed that Thompson and Motaung were not the only people attacked on March 30/31. The three are also accused of stabbing and/or attacking Kaeisho Godfrey Dire with pangas and robbing him of R80, threatening “Thuso” with knives before taking his cellphone, and stabbing another person with a knife.
During her testimony the investigating officer, Sergeant Chrisna Von Wielligh, said that one more suspect had already been arrested and that 15 were still at large.
“We have arrested another suspect who we will add to this court case. As for the others, we have their addresses but each time we go there they are not there.”
Von Wielligh said that once her photo album had been completed, the accused may well be linked to other murders as the modus operandi was the same. “They steal the victims’ brand name shoes.”
When asked if it could just be that the accused owned the same type of shoes, Von Wielligh said that the shoes had been sent for DNA testing. “They were also identified as belonging to the victim. These shoes were also brought to Mothobi’s shack by Matlakala.”
Von Wielligh went on to say that there were also five more witness statements that would confirm the incidents of the fateful night.
Magistrate Conrad Prinsloo wanted to know from Von Wielligh about the accused’s criminal records.
She replied that Matlakala had no previous convictions or any pending cases against him. He had fixed employment as a Fidelity guard at the Flamingo Casino.
Mothobi was currently facing a pending murder case. He was also convicted of robbery in 2011. He spent two years in jail while three years were suspended.
Crutse has seven prior convictions which included housebreaking and theft as well as absconding in 2000. In 2001 he was convicted twice of house robbery and theft for which he received a one-year correctional supervision sentence and for the other case he was incarcerated for two years. In 2002 he was sentenced to 18 months for possession of stolen property. In 2013 he was sentenced to eight years’ direct imprisonment, of which three were suspended for five years, for robbery and sexual assault.
“He also informed me that in 2007 he was charged with rape and should have spent nine and 13 years in prison but this has not been confirmed and I will have to check the documentation,” Von Wielligh added.
In delivering his decision not to grant bail to the accused, Prinsloo said he had to take into consideration the circumstances in which Thompson lost his life.
“We also have to look at the second allegation in which Tau Motaung’s shoes were stolen from him. I also have to take into consideration the aggravating robbery which took place where one of the victim’s shoes and jacket was stolen.”
Prinsloo added that he also had to take the Galeshewe community into account. “There are hundreds of people crammed like sardines into this small courtroom. I have to take them into consideration as well.”
He went on to say that the bail law had changed in that only if an accused could provide exceptional circumstances could a court grant bail.
The safety of the accused also had to be considered. “Mothobi’s shanty was burnt down. The community has threatened to take the law into their own hands should the accused be released,” Prinsloo said.
He further stated that it was also not unusual that an accused’s life could be in danger while on bail. “Their safety is also important.”
Prinsloo said that if the accused were released on bail the outstanding witness statements would also be difficult to collect. “They will be reluctant to give their statements.”
It also had to be proved that exceptional circumstances existed before granting bail. “The fact that accused one (Matlakala) has full-time work does not present exceptional circumstances.”
Prinsloo postponed the case for further investigation.