Child’s mur­der leaves fam­ily reel­ing

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

A Thet­sane fam­ily is in shock and both hus­band and wife can­not for­give them­selves for the bru­tal killing of their five-year-old daugh­ter al­legedly by their ten­ant al­most two weeks ago.

The child was al­legedly stabbed to death by 34-year-old Ntahli Chuene. Chuene was out on bail for al­legedly stab­bing a six-year-old girl in Maseru south West (Ma­sowe) in 2013, and both ’ Mare­i­tumetse and her hus­band Tšepiso nthunya were aware of their ten­ant’s bloody past.

Chuene of Mat­soat­lareng in Maseru handed her­self to the Thet­sane Po­lice Post on 30 Oc­to­ber, al­legedly soon af­ter killing the child in Ma­sowe. she has since ap­peared in the Maseru Mag­is­trate’s Court and she was re­manded in cus­tody un­til Mon­day next week.

Thet­sane po­lice on Mon­day told the Le­sotho Times Chuene even pro­duced a blood-stained Okapi knife she al­legedly used to end the life of the un­sus­pect­ing soul.

Ac­cord­ing to Thet­sane Po­lice Com­mand­ing Of­fi­cer, Se­nior In­spec­tor Bakoena Se­phula, Chuene had left him dumb­founded.

“What is shock­ing about this case is that Chuene is no stranger to us. We have a mur­der case against her be­fore the courts which was filed some­time in 2013,” Se­nior In­spec­tor se­phula said.

“In that case, she also re­ported her­self to us af­ter she al­legedly killed the six-year-old girl in the same bushy area. The present case is strik­ingly sim­i­lar to what hap­pened in 2013, as the killing took place at al­most the same spot.

“And in both in­ci­dents, she said the killing was an act of re­venge as she had had some dis­putes with the chil­dren’s moth­ers.”

The Le­sotho Times has es­tab­lished that Chuene was sent for psy­chi­atric eval­u­a­tion at Mohlomi hos­pi­tal af­ter the 2013 in­ci­dent. Af­ter be­ing de­tained for “months”, she was re­leased into the care of her fam­ily on con­di­tion she would be pe­ri­od­i­cally brought back to the hos­pi­tal for med­i­ca­tion.

’Mare­i­tumetse (24) said she knew about Chuene’s men­tal state, and also her pend­ing mur­der trial, but be­lieved she was now a changed per­son hence the fam­ily’s de­ci­sion to ac­com­mo­date her in novem­ber last year. Chuene was pay­ing M130 per month for the sin­gle room she was oc­cu­py­ing.

how­ever, ’ Mare­i­tumetse de­nied ar­gu­ing with Chuene, dis­miss­ing claims by neigh­bours that they had in­deed quar­reled af­ter she failed to pay rent for three con­sec­u­tive months. Chuene was work­ing part-time in a cer­tain Thet­sane tex­tile fac­tory.

“I never ar­gued with that woman,”mare­i­tumetse told the Le­sotho Times on Mon­day this week. “In fact, two days be­fore she killed my child, we had a meal to­gether in my house as she would come to me ask­ing for food.

“I even told her that I was tak­ing the child to the sa­lon the fol­low­ing day. We were all fine and like one big fam­ily.

“On the is­sue of rent, ntahli al­ways paid her M130 on time and be­fore the other ten­ants. It is not true that we tried to chase her away for not pay­ing rent. NO.”

her hus­band, Tšepiso (27) also dis­missed the rental claims, adding the neigh­bours had told him and his fam­ily a com­pletely dif­fer­ent story.

“What we heard from our neigh­bours is that be­fore she dis­ap­peared with my baby, Chuene had said she was thirsty for blood. This is a prac­tice com­monly as­so­ci­ated with satanism so it is pos­si­ble that she was pos­sessed by evil spir­its.”

nar­rat­ing events of the fate­ful day, ’ Mare­i­tumetse said: “I asked about the child but no­body had seen her. It was around mid­day and we also re­alised that ntahli, who had been seen with my child ear­lier on, was also not around.

“I be­came more wor­ried when I was in­formed by the other chil­dren that ntahli had promised to buy sweets and chips for my baby and that they had left the vil­lage to­gether. I had this feel­ing right there and then that Ntahli was go­ing to kill my baby be­cause I knew she had killed an­other baby two years ago.

“I was one of the first wit­nesses Chuene con­fessed to af­ter she com­mit­ted that mur­der in 2013.

“Al­though I can­not re­mem­ber the ex­act date, ntahli ar­rived at my place with stains of blood on her clothes. We knew each other be­cause we had lived in the same vil­lage of Liphako­eng be­fore. so when she came into my house with blood on her clothes, I had thought she was men­stru­at­ing and had some­how be­come care­less.

“I al­lowed her into my house and lent her my clothes. she washed her own clothes and put them on the line to dry. But while clean­ing her­self, ntahli shocked me by telling me that she had just killed a young girl, who was the daugh­ter of one of her rel­a­tives.

“she said she had killed the child be­cause they had ar­gued with the mother. I didn’t be­lieve her un­til she took out a knife that she said she had used to mur­der the child with. The knife was in her bag and had blood on it. I wanted to run.

“When she re­alised I was now fright­ened, Ntahli grabbed her still-wet clothes, took mine off and put hers on, which were still wet. She then left my house. I rushed to Thet­sane po­lice to re­port the in­ci­dent, but when I got there, I dis­cov­ered that Ntahli had al­ready re­ported the mat­ter. I un­der­stand that af­ter she left my house, she went straight to the po­lice to re­port her­self.”

’Mare­i­tumetse said Chuene resur­faced in novem­ber 2014, seek­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion.

“I was shocked when she came here again in Novem­ber 2014 af­ter I had last seen her in 2013. she knocked and asked for a meal. I gave her M5 and told her never to visit my house again. But she showed up again a few days later.

“This time she said she had heard that one of our flats was va­cant and that she needed the apart­ment be­cause she had found a ‘piece job’ at the fac­to­ries close to this place.

“I was hes­i­tant to of­fer her the apart­ment at first. We even dis­cussed the is­sue with my hus­band, but ended up ac­cept­ing that she should oc­cupy the flat. It never oc­curred to us that one day, we would be one of her vic­tims and that we would pay dearly for our kind­ness.”

’Mare­i­tumetse said she was the one who re­ceived a call from Thet­sane po­lice about the death of their child.

“My phone rang, but I didn’t an­swer it. I was afraid, and like I said, I al­ready had this feel­ing that my baby had been killed by ntahli.

“My phone was later an­swered by our aunt (’Ma­neo). The po­lice asked her if she was ’Mare­i­tumetse. They told her I should re­port to the po­lice with any of my rel­a­tives. I didn’t go. Aun­tie ’Ma­neo went to the po­lice on my be­half. That’s where she was in­formed about the mur­der of my baby.”

Ac­cord­ing to ’ Ma­neo, she nearly col­lapsed when the po­lice told her about the mur­der.

“I al­most fainted when the po­lice in­formed me about the child’s death.’mare­i­tumetse had in­formed me about her sus­pi­cion that ntahli must have al­ready killed the child, but I had dis­missed this fear. I couldn’t be­lieve her sus­pi­cion un­til the po­lice con­firmed it,” she said.

Tšepiso also said he could not stop blam­ing him­self for his child’s death.

“I was phoned while I was at work, and I came home im­me­di­ately. They told me what had hap­pened and I felt guilty for al­low­ing ntahli to stay with us while we al­ready knew that she was a mur­der sus­pect. she fooled us and made us be­lieve that she was a changed per­son.”

The vil­lage chief, Mpiti Thet­sane, told the Le­sotho Times the mur­der had left the com­mu­nity shaken.

“I’m told this woman men­tioned some­thing about be­ing thirsty for hu­man blood. It’s shock­ing to find out that we could be liv­ing with peo­ple of this na­ture in our neigh­bour­hood,” Chief Thet­sane said.

About 300 me­ters from where the child was killed, the Le­sotho Times found five brick­lay­ers who said they saw Chuene with the child on the day in ques­tion.

One of the men said: “We saw them down there walk­ing as if they were mother and child; we never sus­pected any­thing sin­is­ter.

“We only re­alised later when the po­lice came back with Chuene to the crime scene that the woman had killed the child.

“We went to the scene to­gether with the po­lice and saw the life­less body of the baby ly­ing in a pool of blood. It was ter­ri­fy­ing be­cause we never even heard any screams for help from the child, yet we were just close by.”

The Le­sotho Times fur­ther vis­ited Mohlomi Psy­chi­atric Hos­pi­tal to find out how Chuene was re­leased from the fa­cil­ity.

how­ever, the man­age­ment re­ferred this reporter to the Di­rec­tor of Men­tal health, a Mr Le­bina, at the Min­istry of health head­quar­ters.

Re­peated ef­forts to reach Mr Le­bina were un­suc­cess­ful, but the Le­sotho Times was in­formed at the hos­pi­tal that Chuene had been ad­mit­ted at the fa­cil­ity even be­fore she al­legedly com­mit­ted the first mur­der in 2013.

“she has a his­tory of men­tal ill­ness and was here be­fore the first mur­der. When she came af­ter that killing in 2013, she was re­leased into the care of her fam­ily.

“I don’t know what hap­pened af­ter­wards but I saw her again on Fri­day last week when prison of­fi­cers brought her for ex­am­i­na­tion. I un­der­stand the pros­e­cu­tion team was ad­vised to go ahead with their case against Chuene.”

Mat­seliso was al­legedly mur­dered in this area which could be a 15-min­utes walk from Ma­sowe vil­lage.

‘Ma­neo nthunya shows the Le­sotho Times crew the room which ntahli Chuene rented

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