The murder trial of an elderly couple who were strangled to death in their Ottery home came to an abrupt halt at the Western Cape High Court yesterday when one of the accused failed to pitch.
Two years after the death of Rugaya and Riedewaan Addinall, the man who worked as their gardener for nine years along with his friend were expected to return to court after being charged with their murders.
The couple was found in their Sandown Road home on 5 January 2019 and some of their possessions were packed in their Mercedes-Benz.
Shortly after the killings, cops arrested gardener Gcinlelitha Ngcobelothe and his friend Lwazi Ntsibantsiba.
The duo are charged with two counts of murder and one charge of aggravated robbery.
According to the indictment, Ngcobelothe had allegedly taken his friend to the couple’s house of the couple with the intention of robbing them.
The duo tied ligatures around the couple’s necks and forced rat poison pellets into Rugaya’s mouth.
The cause of death was manual strangulation and the indictment further says they loaded valuables in the couple’s car to steal but the car failed to start.
The trial commenced earlier this year when Ngcobelothe’s attorney, Advocate Mohamed Sibda, told the court that his client denied killing the couple, and the only reason why his fingerprints were found on their car was because he had washed it the day before they were murdered.
On Monday the state prosecutor called for a warrant of arrest to be issued for Ngcobelothe, who is out on R800 bail.
“Accused number one is still absent. It is now 11 o’clock and there has been no word from him.
“His WhatsApp status profile according to my colleague says: ‘Unavailable until further notice’. In light thereof, my Lord, the state asks for an immediate warrant of arrest for accused one.”
Sibda said he tried to call his client but was unreachable.
Ntsibantsiba then asked for a postponement, saying his aunt had passed away and he needed time to grieve.
Acting Judge Bryan Hack ruled: “I understand that you’ve had a family loss and that you requested time to spend with your family and I will grant you that time. The matter will be postponed until Wednesday.
“In respect of accused number one, I concede to the state’s request for a warrant of arrest to be issued together with a forfeiture of his bail.