Anger as trial of East London caregiver postponed again

The family of Hope Shepherd was left fuming yesterday after the case against a woman accused of assaulting their late mother in an East London old age home was again postponed, this time for trial in December.

The family said evidence of the assault was produced a long time ago and that Shepherd’s eldest daughter Deanne Guild was having to spend money on flights from Johannesburg each time.

Shepherd’s family was expecting judgement and sentencing to be handed down yesterday, but accused Ncediswa Mkenkcele declined to plead guilty to additional charges against her.

The matter was heard in the East London Magistrate’s Court.

Mkenkcele, 40, was arrested in Duncan Village last year after a video – allegedly showing her punching Shepherd – surfaced in 2014. The former Lily Kirchmann care-giver has pleaded guilty to two counts of assault.

Yesterday, presiding magistrate Ignatius Kitching asked how she would plead on three more charges of assault that had been added to the charge sheet.

Her attorney, Chuma Msamo, accused prosecutor Bonginkosi Mafa of withholding evidence until the last hour as they had only been given the video footage dealing with the extra charges on Monday.

“On those three other counts we are pleading not guilty,” she said.

Kitching postponed the matter for trial to December 1 and 2. Shepherd died in December last year, just months after she had been removed from Lily Kirchmann.

She was 85. The assaults were captured on a hidden camera placed in Shepherd ’s room by her daughter Bernice Robertson in 2014 after she became suspicious of her mother’s constant and unexplained injuries.

After witnessing the brutal assaults on camera, Robertson approached the home’s management before laying a complaint with police.

She then removed her mother from the home. Mkenkcele resigned from her job before disciplinary action could be instituted against her

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