Scott breaks down in court
…As cop describes horrific crime scene
They are sitting together and occasionally whispering to each other as Tuesday’s session gets underway in the High Court.
Double murder suspects Lehlohonolo Scott and his mother, ‘Malehlohonolo, are an arm’s length from the families whose two children they allegedly butchered four years ago in a crime that shook the nation due to its savagery.
The body parts of Moholobela Seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (22) were found in three locations in Koalabata where both the accused and victims lived, leading to speculation they had been killed for ritual purposes.
The Scotts were arrested on 12 July 2012 for the alleged killings. Seetsa was last seen alive on 11 January 2012, while Mohata is said to have disappeared in early July 2012.
However, Scott’s escape from Maseru Central Correctional Institute on 14 October 2012 only added to the family’s mystique and macabre theories Basotho had formulated since their arrest.
And when Scott was nabbed in Durban, South Africa, as he emerged from a church service on 6 April 2014, many Basotho dismissed the news as yet another falsehood—only to believe it when he was extradited on 21 October 2015. His mother, ‘Malehlohonolo, had been released on M500 bail in August 2013.
Scott appeared before the High Court the same day he was extradited amid protests he was not a Lesotho citizen but a South African, with Justice Teboho Moiloa remanding him in custody until 23 November 2015. The judge on 23 November 2015 announced the case would proceed from 11 to 15 April and 18 to 27 April 2016.
On Monday this week, mother and son were in the High Court as the trial resumed amid a packed gallery. They pleaded not guilty to charges of murder.
And on Tuesday, as Lance Sergeant Liau Seeko submitted photographs he took at the crime scene as evidence, Scott and his mother could be seen muttering to each other.
That was before the officer began giving graphic details of each picture he had taken of Mohata’s body parts.
At this point, Scott went very still as he listened to the proceedings, covered his face with both hands as he broke down and started to weep. Scott tried to put his head under the court desk while wiping his tears and nose with a white, pink and grey towel. But Justice Moiloa instructed him to remain still as Lance Sergeant Seeko continued his grim narrative which drew occasional gasps from the teeming courtroom.
“Lehlohonolo phahama re tsebe ho u bona (loosely translated as Lehlohonolo, sit upright so that we can see you),” Justice Moiloa said.
Lance Sergeant Seeko told the court that Mohata’s torso was recovered from a donga approximately 3-5 kilometers from the Scotts residence.
“Photograph 16 was taken on 12 July 2012 and depicts a place where Kamohelo Mohata’s torso was discovered. The torso was in a hole in the donga and we discovered it after some digging,” said Lance Sergeant Seeko.
“Photograph 20 shows some body parts but I cannot remember quite well exactly what they were because my camera’s battery was no longer functional. I took the body parts to Lesotho Funeral Service mortuary.”
The officer further told the court that the following day, the police retrieved some of Mohata’s body parts from a toilet pit at Koalabata Primary School.
These parts included legs, lungs and intestines wrapped in yellow and black plastic bags, Lance Sergeant Seeko added.
He further said part of Mohata’s liver had been cut and was missing.
“At the back of the same toilet, I discovered some lungs whose owner I didn’t know.
“Photograph 27, taken from the same toilet, depicts a heart which was cut towards the edge. Photograph 28 depicts part of a throat which was also cut,” he told the stunned courtroom.
“Both photograph 33 and 34 depict someone’s head cut from the neck and it was also identified as Kamohelo Mohata’s. The head was discovered in Koalabata Primary School’s toilet pit.”
As the court went for lunch break, one of the many people who had come to witness the trial and support the bereaved families told the Lesotho Times that Scott was crying “crocodile tears”.
“Did you see him crying when the officer was describing Kamohelo Mohata’s chopped body? I think he just wanted us to sympathise with him. He is not remorseful because just minutes before that he was smiling with his mother,” the angry woman said.
“He wants us to believe that he now feels the pain yet he never had any mercy when he chopped these innocent people’s heads. Why should we feel sympathy for him when he didn’t feel any for these victims?”
Meanwhile, members of the bereaved families who testified in court on Monday, refused to talk to the Lesotho Times saying they could only do so tomorrow.
“Please allow us to talk to you on Friday because hearing how our children were killed is tearing us apart,” said one family member who requested anonymity.