Bay murder suspect ‘forced to sign’ statement written by police
A man accused of the brutal 2014 attack and murder of an off-duty St Albans prison warder alleged on Monday that he had been forced to sign fabricated statements written by police officers.
Testifying under cross-examination in his own defence in the Port Elizabeth High Court, Sinethemba Mfihlo, 22, denied he had given the police a statement on the day he was arrested, claiming he had been forced to sign documents presented to him by the investigating officer.
“I never gave a statement on [the day I was arrested] save for when a police officer asked me what I saw,” Mfihlo said.
The first statement which Mfihlo contested was allegedly signed by him on Saturday June 14 2014, the same day Quinton David Williams, 44, was murdered.
Mfihlo, along with JeanClaude Uithaler, 23, and Khawulelani Gqunta, 20, face charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
All three have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On Monday, Mfihlo gave different versions of when and how he signed at least five statements.
These included “pointing out statements” in which he is alleged to have identified Uithaler to the police two days after the attack on Williams.
“That document you are referring to was one of the documents I was made to sign at the police station,” Mfihlo said.
It is alleged the three men attacked Williams while he was on his way home from a nearby tavern in Booysen Park.
Williams was found with more than 30 stab wounds to his body, his head had been bashed in and he had been partially castrated.
“I was made to sign two or three documents but I don’t recall if there were any other documents to sign,” Mfihlo testified.
According to Mfihlo, the investigating officer, Sergeant Conrad Goosen, had presented him with the documents to sign.
Mfihlo said Goosen told him that if he helped him out and signed the documents, Mfihlo would be a witness in the matter.
Prosecutor Garth Baartman asked Mfihlo how it would have been possible for Goosen to fabricate the statements, including the pointing out statement which was signed on June 16 2014, if each document had a different handwriting and was taken down by different officers.
“[Goosen] could have gotten someone else to write them and then he made me sign them,” Mfihlo said.
Asked about a pointing out statement Mfihlo made regarding Gqunta, Mfihlo said he never saw Gqunta being arrested or pointed him out.
“I do not recall where or when I signed [the pointing out statement of Gqunta] but it was [Goosen] who made me sign it,” Mfihlo said.
It was put to him that the statements signed on June 16 2014 could not have been presented to him by Goosen as Goosen was on leave that specific day.
However, Mfihlo said the statements could have been signed in the week following his arrest.
“Then [Goosen] made me sign [the documents] on June 17 if he says he was not at work on the 16th,” Mfihlo said.
The case continues...