One of four men charged with the murder of Thistle Hotel manager Mark Truter (38) on the night of March 25, 2008, told a Pietermaritzburg magistrate yesterday that police assaulted him while in custody.
Wiseman Vusimuzi Ndlovu (30) is the first of the four men standing trial for Truter’s murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances to give evidence yesterday in support of a bail application before magistrate Paul van Dongen.
Ndlovu testified that he intends to plead not guilty to the charges facing him.
He told the court he had not been aware at any stage before his arrest that he was being sought by the police.
If he had known they were looking for him he would have handed himself over.
He offered to pay R1 000 bail. Ndlovu said he had told police after his arrest that he knew nothing about the charges.
He alleged that while in custody he had been taken from Mountain Rise Police Station to offices where he was assaulted by two white policemen. He was kicked in the solar plexus and lost consciousness.
Asked by prosecutor Sipho Thwala if he recalls whether the police took him to see a doctor, he said he does not remember.
He also does not recall taking the police anywhere or showing them anything, he said.
The bail hearing was interrupted to enable the court to listen to a recording of the evidence, and technical difficulties were experienced with the recording machine.
The case was postponed until today.
Ndlovu’s co-accused — Siphelele Peter Ngubo (28), Ryder Snothi Ndlovu (21) and Sihle Makhanya (24) — are all set to apply for bail.
They are charged with Truter’s murder as well as robbery of R33 000 in cash, a camera and a cellphone.
Truter — who is one of the oldest known survivors of cystic fibrosis — reportedly suffocated to death as a result of being gagged with tape, which covered his mouth and nose.