Simphiwe Mweli, the man accused of the murder of socialite Kavitha Nerputh in January 2020, broke down and sobbed when Judge Bhekizitha Phoswa of Pietermaritzburg found him not guilty of the crime.
Nerputh’s body was found in her abandoned silver-grey Audi Q7 by police in January 2020 under a tree near a river. She was in the driver’s seat with her seat belt fastened. The car keys were not in the ignition while her head was lolling forward. She had strangulation marks on her neck.
Nerputh owned a company that sold a weight loss product called Forever Well Tea. She became a social media hit in 2017 when she threw a R100,000 carnival birthday party for her then four-year-old daughter.
Mweli, who was a tramp, he testified at the time of his arrest – told the court that as he was walking to the YMCA in Scottsville with his girlfriend, whom he identified as Mbuso, next to Alexandra Park, a vehicle driven by an Indian woman had pulled up beside them and asked her to talk to him.
He said the woman asked him if he was looking for work and he replied that he was desperately looking for a job. He claimed Nerputh also asked if he owned a firearm, if he knew anyone who would have sex with her and kill her for a fee of R1,000.
Mweli said the woman had her friends and said her ex-husband molested her.
He claimed he turned down her proposal before breaking up with her in Alexandra Park.
In his estimation, Phoswa said Mweli did often lied during the trial.
“New things emerged as he testified that were never released in evidence,” said Phoswa.
Phoswa said, that the law does not require that if someone lies, it is automatically made them guilty of the charged crime. He cited the law of evidence, according to which people can lie for a variety of reasons.
“The crucial and critical question is what the accused says under oath in his defense. To outline common sense, I find one aspect interesting: no one has ever seen the defendant kill the deceased.
“Interestingly, it is the defendant who told the court how he killed the deceased how the application was made, the deceased and its rejection,” said Phoswa.
He said there was no direct evidence linking the defendant to Nerputh’s death.
Nerputh’s ex-husband Manesh Manihalal also testified at the trial, revealing that although they were divorced, they maintained a “cordial” relationship as they had one child together. Their last communication was on January 18th and 19th, 2020.
“On the night of January 18th, Manesh had received a call from the deceased who was uneasy and unsure if her family was safe,” Phoswa said. “This was followed on January 19 by a WhatsApp message in which the deceased said she was receiving serious threats. This had prompted Manesh to comfort her by swearing that no one would harm her.”
Nerputh had previously won a contusion case for molestation in 2019.
Msizi Mbhele , who implicated Mweli in the murder, said they were at the YMCA in Scottsville on January 16, 2020. He said the defendant had confided in them regarding Nerputh’s proposal. The following Saturday, Mweli arrived with a bottle of vodka, according to Mbhele and confessed to killing Nerputh with a charger and an electric cable.
Phoswa questioned the evidence and whether the confession came from a sober or healthy person. He criticized the police investigation as no attempt was made to take DNA samples from the phone’s charger andfingerprints from Nerputh’s vehicle .
“The question on our mind is that the guilt of the accused must be established beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Phoswa.
The state could not provide any witnesses to testify for Mweli as he had no fixed address.
< p>Mweli was taken to underground holding cells before his release.
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