THREE years after Pietermaritzburg man Allistair (Coopie) de Lange (67) was murdered and his wife Joan (64) was stabbed multiple times in their flat in the city’s CBD, a man was convicted of the attack yesterday.
Regional court magistrate Bheki Khumalo found Lungani Khumalo (22) guilty of murder and attempted murder arising from the incident, but acquitted Khumalo’s co-accused, Mzwandile Dlomo (22), of the charges, after ruling there was no acceptable evidence to prove that he had been present at the scene of the attack.
He said the only evidence linking Dlomo to the crimes was a statement by Khumalo that pointed out to police that he and a companion named “Mzwa” had attacked the De Langes.
The court accepted the evidence of a neighbour, who said that when she went to investigate Joan de Lange’s screams, she saw Khumalo leaving the De Lange flat and running down the back stairs carrying crutches.
Another neighbour saw two men — whom he identified as the two accused — who came to his flat to inquire about a “Mr Naidoo” 25 minutes before the attack on the De Lange’s.
During a pointing out after his arrest, Khumalo told police he and his companion had seen a flat open and “needed money”.
They’d entered the premises with a tomahawk and a knife. The door was not locked. A man had come from the bedroom and a female from the lounge and a “fight started”. Khumalo said he had stabbed the man, while “Mzwa” stabbed the lady.
In her testimony, Joan de Lange said she’d only had a brief “glimpse” of her assailant on November 15, 2007.
Their flat door had been unlocked as they were expecting a visitor.
Her husband was in the bedroom and she was in the lounge when she heard him shouting; “How did you get in here?”.
Immediately afterwards he shouted her name.
As she entered the bedroom she felt a knife stab her, and when she turned the stabbing continued all over her body.
She was stabbed 13 times and became unconscious.
In hospital later her wounds had been surgically stitched.
At her husband’s funeral no one had been able to touch her because of the pain she was experiencing.
Sentencing was postponed to November 9.
Members of the De Lange family who attended the court case yesterday said they were relieved to get closure.
• Dlomo was also acquitted yesterday of a further charge of having robbed Sanele Mthembu of his running shoes and 17 CDs at knifepoint in Edendale on September 25, 2004. However, he was found guilty of being in possession of suspected stolen property because he was wearing the victim’s takkies when he was arrested.