Rugby player ‘chopped victim like an animal’ – eyewitness
Former rugby player Phindile Joseph Ntshongwana has been identified as a murderer by an eyewitness in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court.
Sihle Vincent Mhlongo placed Ntshongwana at the scene of the murder of Simon Ngidi, who was hacked to death and decapitated on March 23 2011 in Umbilo.
Mhlongo testified that he had just turned his light off after studying at around 3am that morning. He was disturbed by a noise outside.
He went to investigate and found a man he later identified as Ntshongwana, pursuing someone and carrying an object he initially thought to be a stick.
“I heard the person being chased crying out ‘don’t hurt me’,” Mhlongo told the court. When the victim fell down, his attacker continued assaulting him.
“That’s when I realised that he was chopping him with an axe around the neck. He was crouching over him, doing it like one chopping an animal. He continued for what felt like five to 10 minutes,” Mhlongo testified.
Mhlongo claims the incident occurred in the street opposite his house. The area was well lit with street lights on both sides.
Ntshongwana’s lawyer, Themba Mjoli, suggested that Mhlongo’s identification of his client might have been influenced by the fact that he follows print media and had seen Ntshongwana’s picture in newspapers.
But to this Mhlongo answered: “There is no way I can ever forget that face … because he made me see something I have never seen before.”
Ntshongwana yesterday pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, including four counts of murder, two of attempted murder, one of rape and kidnapping, as well as one of assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.
He claims he can’t remember committing the crimes.