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Home Affairs official to testify in bail application hearing of accused linked to Gardee murder

home affairs official to testify in bail application hearing of accused linked to gardee murder

A Home Affairs official is expected to testify in the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court in Mbombela, Mpumalanga, as the bail application of Philemon Lukhele, one of the four accused in the Hillary Gardee murder, resumes.

The immigration officer is expected to testify on Lukhele’s movement between his country of birth – the Kingdom of eSwatini and South Africa.

Previously, the court heard that Lukhele had not been to eSwatini since exiled to South Africa in the late 90s.

Lukhele, Sipho Mkhatshwa, Mduduzi Gama and Rassie Nkune are accused of the killing of Hillary Gardee.

Gardee’s body was found in a timber plantation outside Mbombela in May.

She had been reported missing a few days earlier. The suspects are facing charges that include kidnapping, murder, defeating the ends of justice and conspiracy to murder among others.

Court hears that two of the accused were seen with her on the day she went missing

The Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court has heard that two of the four men accused of Gardee’s murder, were seen with her on the day she went missing. The investigating officer, Thamsanqa Mkhaliphi, told the court that two witnesses saw Philemon Lukhele and Mduduzi Gama with Gardee.

Mkhaliphi was opposing Lukhele’s bail application.

The court was also told that a police officer overheard Lukhele telling his lawyer that a witness had to be eliminated.

A second witness also saw Lukhele with three other people with the deceased in a stationary vehicle in Nelsville on the same day. Mkhaliphi added that drugs were also found inside Lukhele’s vehicle. The drugs have since been taken for testing.

He also told the court that the results of blood stains found at Lukhele’s house had insufficient DNA.

The court was told that police are still waiting for the results of blood that was found in Lukhele’s car.

The court also heard that Lukhele is a bad father, and that he had not been supporting his eight-year-old child.

The investigating officer produced two affidavits from the child’s mother and grandmother stating that he last supported the child when she was three years old.

Mkhaliphi says it would not be in the best interest of justice to grant Lukhele bail and that he is a flight risk.

He added that the accused and the deceased had a business transaction, installing Wi-Fi at Lukhele’s guest house.

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