Fresh details emerge as ritual murder suspect confesses

Murder suspects Tawana Ngwenya (right) and a juvenile arrive at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court housed at Tredgold Building in Bulawayo yesterday.
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THE ritual murder suspect who hack-sawed his victim in half, stole US$400 from her handbag and used some of the money to buy a drum and hydrochloric acid which he used to dispose of the body, yesterday appeared in court together with his co-accused.

Tawana Ngwenya (20) confessed that he was watching a movie with Thabelo Mazolo (25) when he struck her three times in the head with an iron bar.

When he realised she was still alive, he slit her throat with a knife.

Ngwenya then recruited a 17-year-old boy to help him conceal the crime and provide the hacksaw which he used to cut his victim.

Part of Mazolo’s body, from the waist going down, is still missing while breasts and palms appeared to have been sliced off.

Ngwenya, the son of a caretaker where Mazolo lived and his teenage accomplice from Fortunes Gate Village, yesterday appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Mr Shepherd Mjanja facing charges of murder.

Both accused persons were remanded to June 26. Ngwenya was remanded in custody while the teenager was remanded in the custody of his uncle and he is supposed to report once a week at Nkulumane Police Station as part of bail conditions.

Prosecuting, Mr Terrence Chakabuda said on June 10 at about 7am, the deceased’s body was found inside a 200-litre drum of acid and it was in an advanced state of decomposition.

The body had the right breast, right arm and the lower torso missing.

“When police attended the scene, they observed that there was a grey bag which had blood stained clothes,” said Mr Chakabuda.

Murder suspects Tawana Ngwenya (right) and a juvenile arrive at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court housed at Tredgold Building in Bulawayo yesterday.

Upon conducting interviews at the scene, police established that Ngwenya who used to stay with the deceased had disappeared soon after Mazolo was reported missing.

“Information was gathered that Ngwenya had gone to Harare where his mother stays. Police detectives in Bulawayo contacted their counterparts in Harare leading to Ngwenya’s arrest on June 11,” said Mr Chakabuda.

Ngwenya confessed having killed Mazolo.

Investigations led to the discovery of two cellphones, a belt, three handbags, a purse, one pair of canvas shoes, five jackets, two jerseys, one sweater, one bra and a t-shirt all belonging to the deceased.

The body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) where post mortem results revealed that the cause of death was brain damage, depressed skull fracture and assault.

On June 12, Ngwenya was brought to the CID Homicide in Bulawayo where further investigations led to the arrest of his accomplice after he implicated him.

Ngwenya revealed that he was assisted by the teenager to buy the drum and 25kg of hydrochloric acid which he used to dispose of the body.

“The second accused (teenager) also participated in putting the deceased’s body in the drum and provided a hacksaw, which was used to cut off the top part of the drum. He however, could not account for the missing body parts, which he said were dissolved in the acid,” said Mr Chakabuda.

Ngwenya was taken to the scene for indications where a silver iron rod, which he allegedly used to strike Mazolo on the head three times before slitting her throat, was recovered.

In his warned and cautioned statement, Ngwenya said he struck Mazolo while the two were seated in the lounge watching a movie.

“After striking her, I dragged her off the couch and when I realised that she was not dead, I went to the cottage and took a knife and finished her off by cutting her throat,” he stated.

Ngwenya said after the gruesome murder, he wrapped the deceased’s head using a plastic bin bag to avoid blood stains on the carpet while dragging the body. He said he left the body in the toilet before he stole US$400 from her handbag.

The following day, he contacted his accomplice who accompanied him to town where they bought the acid and the drum.

The teenager, in his warned and cautioned statement denied participating in Mazolo’s murder, saying he only assisted in looking for the acid and drum. He said he also provided the hacksaw and also assisted in lifting the drum.