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Court blow for ritual murder suspect, ‘Malehlohonolo

by Lesotho Times

Mohalenyane Phakela

DOUBLE ritual murder suspect, ‘Malehlohonolo Scott, this week lost her application for discharge after the High Court ruled that the evidence linked her to the murder charges that she is facing along with her son, Lehlohonolo Scott.

‘Malehlohonolo and Lehlohonolo Scott face charges of murdering fellow Koalabata residents, Moholobela Seetsa and Kamohelo Mohata in January and June 2012 respectively.

The 62-year-old widow, who is currently out on bail, last appeared in court in September 2017 due to ill health. On 26 March this year, the Scotts’ lawyer, Advocate Thulo Hoeane, applied for her discharge on the grounds that she was never implicated in the alleged murders at any point of the investigations. Adv Hoeane submitted that in all the places where the evidence was collected, there was nothing linking Ms Scott to the alleged crimes.

However, High Court judge, Justice Teboho Moiloa on Tuesday dismissed the application saying that it was impossible that Ms Scott would not have been aware of the murder evidence that was collected from her house because she resided there and had access to the entire house and yard.

“Moholobela Seetsa disappeared on 11 January 2012 and his body was discovered in a nearby donga in Koalabata on 15 January whereas the second deceased, Kamohelo Mohata, was last seen on 10 July and his body parts were discovered from a pit latrine of their house,” Justice Moiloa said.

“The evidence before court relates to the issues of the ownership of the site the two accused stayed in. The Chieftainess of the area presented evidence that the house belonged to accused number two (Ms Scott). Accused number one, Lehlohonolo, contested the evidence saying he owned the site and that evidence to prove his ownership had been burned down during the community riots pertaining to the deaths of the deceased.

“Evidence was that the accused came from Ha Makhalanyane and moved to Lithoteng before occupying the site in Koalabata. Accused number one, Lehlohonolo (31) was not even an adult when they got site. Sites in this country are not allocated to minors.

“Moreover, the various items which belonged to the deceased and were exhibited before this court were retrieved from the accused’s house. There is no evidence that accused number two (Ms Scott) had no access to any room as the owner of the house. I cannot accept that she had no knowledge of (murder) evidence from the house.

“The other evidence which was presented to the court was found in the vehicle which was used by Lehlohonolo. There were also blood stains which were discovered in the toilet of their home by the police and a bloody card box from one of the rooms.

“This vehicle was visible to anyone in the village and I cannot believe that accused number two (Ms Scott) was not aware of either flies or smell from the vehicle. To me, this toilet was in normal use therefore it is impossible for accused number two not to have been aware of the blood in the toilet. There are many questions which remain unanswered.

“Therefore I cannot accept plea that accused number two be discharged. The application is dismissed. The main case will continue from 18 to 21 June and from 13 to 16 August 2019,” Justice Moiloa ruled.

The Scotts were arrested on 12 July 2012 following the discovery of Seetsa and Mohata’s mutilated bodies in Koalabata. The mutilation of the bodies led to speculation the two had been killed for ritual purposes.

In addition to murder, Lehlohonolo also faces the charge of unlawful escape from Maseru Central Prison on 14 October 2012 while awaiting trial.

After almost two years on the run, Lehlohonolo was arrested in Durban on 6 April 2014 and lost his fight against extradition in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on 5 May, 2015.

He was extradited to Lesotho on 21 October 2015, where he awaits the finalisation of his trials in custody.

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