The man accused of murdering nine-year-old Sadia Sukhraj in a botched hijacking on Tuesday, told the Durban High Court that he had no knowledge of the incidents that led to the child’s death

Marianhill resident Sbonelo Seni Mkhize — whose trial was set down to run to the end of February — in a brief statement read by his lawyer, denied that he colluded to rob anyone or cause the death of anyone, “directly or indirectly”.

“On 28 May, I left Savannah Park at 6.30am to go to 1104 informal settlement, I was on foot,” the statement read.

Mkhize alleged he was then apprehended by two “Indian males” who took him to the scene of the crime, where he was assaulted by the crowds that had gathered.

“The police saved me when they took me to Chatsworth Police Station,” he said.

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“I was an innocent passerby”.

Mkhize, 39, stood rigid in the dock, spectacles high on his nose, staring forward.

The courtroom was quiet – a far cry from previous appearances where angry community members had gathered to protest the child’s death amid allegations of increased crime in the area.

Mkhize has been charged with common purpose for two counts of murder: one for the death of Sadia and one for the death of his alleged accomplice, Siyabonga Bulose.

He is also facing one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances for stealing Shailendra Sukhraj’s car, bag, cell phones, bankcards, keys and cash. Shailendra, Sadia’s father, was present at court, and was set to give testimony later in the day.

12 February 2019- An emotional Shailendra Sukhraj, father of slain Sadia Sukhraj sitting in court waiting to take to the witness box Picture; Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

The indictment relays the details of the child’s death, saying on May 28, 2018, while en route to school in the morning, Shailendra Sukhraj drove Sadia to her grandparent’s home in Shallcross. The indictment relays that while the car was stationary at her grandparent’s driveway, the accused and another assailant accosted her father.

“The assailants were armed and demanded the car keys from her father at gunpoint. He threw the car keys to them, whereafter they both boarded the vehicle. Whilst both assailants were fleeing the scene in his motor vehicle with his daughter inside, he fired several gunshots towards the driver with his licensed firearm.”

The car came to a stop after crashing into another vehicle and Mkhize allegedly fled on foot but was pursued and apprehended by an off-duty police officer. His accomplice died at the scene while alighting the stolen vehicle from gunshot wounds to the pelvis.

Sadia was rushed to Chatsmed Hospital where she was declared dead, having sustained gunshot wounds to the chest.

Mkhize told the court he would be pleading not guilty to all three counts.

Author: ANA Newswire