Murder accused Sandile Mantsoe’s account of how his girlfriend Karabo Mokoena allegedly committed suicide by stabbing herself in the neck may have received gasps and shocked expressions from the court gallery last week‚ but medics say suicide in this manner is not improbable.
Sandton-based clinical psychologist Debbie Bright said back in her years of interning at KwaZulu-Natal’s hospitals‚ one of the highest methods of suicide they saw was self-stabbing.
“It can happen. It may seem brutal and bizarre‚ but it is not impossible‚” said Bright.
People who committed suicide in such a manner had usually progressed through the different methods‚ perhaps starting from pill overdoses to slitting of wrists and then opting for something as extreme as self-stabbing‚ she said.
In a statement Mantsoe gave to police officers shortly after his arrest in May 2017‚ he claimed Mokoena‚ 22‚ had overdosed on pills in his locked apartment‚ had cut herself in front of her sister and had also crashed his vehicle – all in a bid to end her life.
The 28-year-old forex trader‚ who is a married father of three‚ is on trial at the High Court in Johannesburg for the alleged murder of Mokoena.
The trial resumes on Tuesday‚ after a break on Monday.
As the trial began last week‚ the court heard of how he claimed to have returned home on April 28‚ 2017‚ to find her in a pool of her own blood‚ dead on his bedroom carpet.
He said he feared no one would believe he did not kill her and thus chose to dispose of her body by placing a tyre over it‚ drenching it in pool acid and petrol and setting it alight in a ditch in Lyndhurst.
In court Mantsoe has painted Mokoena as someone who was "addicted to the high life" but had a troubled soul with a history filled with tragedy brought on from abuse from her father and a former boyfriend‚ a miscarriage following an assault by an ex-Nigerian boyfriend and a rape ordeal.
Mokoena’s sister‚ Bontle‚ and her friends Stephanie Leong and Puleng Mthethwa‚ however‚ took to the stand and painted a contradictory image‚ saying Mokoena was a victim of Mantsoe’s infidelity and abuse. They detailed several incidents where Mantsoe assaulted Mokoena‚ at one point even paying for her hospital bill.
But it was the account of Constable Mokgaetji Mahwete that raised the most questions this week. She alleged that Mantsoe had told her Mokoena had to die in order to sever a blood ritual the two of them had done to boost his business.
Mahwete said Mantsoe had revealed that Mokoena had stabbed herself and he had mixed their blood and was to take it to a person who he had referred to as “Master” who would end the jinx that fallen over his business since the couple had decided to go their separate ways.
Mantsoe‚ however‚ rubbished these allegations‚ saying instead that another police officer‚ Captain Bhekisisa Mhlongo‚ had requested a bribe from him in order to make the case go away.
Mantsoe‚ who took to the stand to dispute Mhlongo’s evidence‚ proudly said Mhlongo had asked for the bribe after seeing the lavish Sandton apartment he lived in‚ adding that “it’s not just anyone who can live there”.
The trial continues.