Sergeant Gwyneth Paulsen, the investigating officer in the Itumeleng Machabe rape and murder case, described to the court how the accused led her on a wild goose chase after he consented to accompany the police to his supposed girlfriend’s house so they could retrieve his cellphone.
SERGEANT Gwyneth Paulsen, the investigating officer (IO) in the Itumeleng Machabe rape and murder case, described to the court how the accused led her on a wild goose chase after he consented to accompany the police to his supposed girlfriend’s house so they could retrieve his cellphone.
This was after she paid Machabe, who is facing 19 charges in the Kimberley High Court, a visit at his home while trying to track his cellphone.
Machabe is facing charges of rape, fraud, crimen injuria, attempted extortion, child pornography, attempted murder and murder.
The IO was called in after the accused’s relative revealed that he was the purported cousin of “Prudy Femme Ivy”, a cyberbully who had been using Facebook to obtain naked pictures of an underage girl.
Paulsen was cross-questioned by State advocate Adele van Heerden and defence advocate Sakkie Nel.
Paulsen stated that when she first began her investigation, she went to Machabe’s grandmother’s home in John Daka, Galeshewe, where she was directed to his actual residence in Hadison Park.
She said she found Machabe at home, where he told her that his cellphone was with his girlfriend in Galeshewe.
Paulsen said that Machabe replied in the affirmative when she asked if he was on Facebook. He told her that he uses his mother’s phone when necessary when she asked him how he stays in touch without having a phone on him.
“I asked for his Facebook password and he gave it to me. I asked him to log onto his account from his mom’s cellphone and he used the same password that he gave me to log on.
“I noticed that there were many photos of underage girls on his phone but did not entertain that,” the IO told the court.
She added that in order to proceed with the investigation, she asked Machabe to go with her and her colleague to his girlfriend to pick up his phone, and he consented.
“We drove to somewhere near Club 2000. I only remember seeing a tuck shop. He told us that he no longer remembered where his girlfriend stays. He however suggested that we drive to his friend’s home.
“He said he usually uses his friend’s cellphone whenever he needs to contact his girlfriend.”
She told the court that they drove to the friend’s house and found a woman there who identified herself as the friend’s mother.
“The woman did not want to allow us inside her home and lashed out that she didn’t want anything to do with the accused, or want him near her son.
“I introduced myself to her and explained the purpose of our visit. That is when she allowed us in and called the friend to come and speak to us.
“He [the friend] denied the accused’s version of the story. That is when I decided to take his cellphone and explained to him that it was for investigative purposes.
“Things were not making sense. We drove back to the accused’s home and dropped him off.
“On that same evening, I tried to log onto the accused’s Facebook account with the same password that he was using earlier on, but it was not working.”
Paulsen said she returned to the accused’s home as she needed more answers.
She managed to speak to Machabe’s mother, Philadelphia, who said her son’s cellphone was stolen from her possession.
“The mom said she had the accused’s phone a while back and her car was broken into.
“Things were still not adding up because I had different versions of the cellphone story. That is why I decided to apply for a search warrant to help with the investigation.
“That is how the other devices, which included the memory stick and a cellphone, were seized,” said Paulsen.
The trial continues.