‘Quar­rel over fake con­tract be­hind model’s mur­der’

Pretoria News Weekend - - NEWS - SHAIN GERMANER

THE STATE has re­vealed the sus­pected mo­tive be­hind the mur­der of Miss Soweto Fi­nal­ist and as­pir­ing model Gen­eveve Mothupi – an ar­gu­ment over a fake mod­el­ling con­tract.

How­ever, as clos­ing ar­gu­ments be­tween the de­fence and pros­e­cu­tion rage on, it will be up to Judge Betty Ma­halelo to de­cide if the cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence pro­vided by the State will be enough to war­rant a con­vic­tion for the al­leged mur­derer, Welling­ton Mo­hapi.

Mothupi was found dead in a bath­tub at her home in Florida on Jan­uary 5, 2013, with the State claim­ing it was Mo­hapi who had been in­vited in­side be­fore raping and mur­der­ing the young woman.

On Thurs­day, clos­ing ar­gu­ments be­gan at the High Court in Joburg after the de­fence chose not to call any wit­nesses, in­clud­ing Mo­hapi him­self.

Ac­cord­ing to State pros­e­cu­tor, Shub­num Singh, there was enough ev­i­dence to prove not only that a mur­der took place, but that Mo­hapi was the cul­prit and had cho­sen not to tes­tify be­cause of mas­sive holes in his story.

The pair had been shar­ing Face­book mes­sages for months, though the friendly re­la­tion­ship took a turn for the bizarre when Mo­hapi claimed he was part of the Il­lu­mi­nati and had con­nec­tions in the mod­el­ling world.

Mo­hapi asked her “in all se­ri­ous­ness if (she was) will­ing to sac­ri­fice her body and soul, and that she would have to join the Il­lu­mi­nati”. “Gen, to be one of us you must sac­ri­fice your BODY to one of us and Soul to THEM.”

Singh ar­gued that the ac­cused had promised Mothupi a mod­el­ling con­tract, and that after she had in­vited him to her home and he could not de­liver, he had no choice but to kill her to save face. While the de­fence has ar­gued that Mothupi may have drowned ac­ci­den­tally while drunk or on drugs, Singh in­sisted that the only med­i­cal ev­i­dence pre­sented had proven the young woman had been mur­dered.

The foren­sic pathol­o­gist had noted a blue dis­coloura­tion around Mothupi’s eye, which in­di­cated a pos­si­ble blunt force trauma. If she had been knocked un­con­scious, it would take lit­tle ef­fort to drown her, which would ex­plain a lack of other in­juries, Singh said. How­ever, she spent much of her ar­gu­ment tak­ing aim at Mo­hapi’s gen­eral dis­hon­esty, from his Face­book mes­sages to the vic­tim to his ly­ing to the in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer and Mothupi’s friends and fam­ily about even know­ing her.

It was only after his fin­ger­print was found on a bot­tle of al­co­hol in­side Mothupi’s home that Mo­hapi ad­mit­ted he had been in­side, and that the pair had had con­sen­sual sex, which ex­plained why his se­men had been found in­side her body.

Singh also al­luded to the fact that Mo­hapi had tried to point the fin­ger at Mothupi’s other male friends and lovers as be­ing re­spon­si­ble, yet each had been able to pro­vide solid al­i­bis prov­ing they had been nowhere near the crime scene.

Mean­while, Mo­hapi’s cell­phone had pinged off a tower just 180m away from Mothupi’s home on the night it is be­lieved she was mur­dered, mean­ing he had to have been within 5km of the house, and not in Hill­brow as he had claimed.

How­ever, de­fence ad­vo­cate Har­men van Beek, also pointed out the State had no phys­i­cal ev­i­dence that the mur­der or rape had taken place, and the foren­sic pathol­o­gist it had re­lied upon was in­con­sis­tent in his tes­ti­mony through­out his time on the stand. “His ev­i­dence was so con­flicted. He never came to a proper con­clu­sion on any­thing,” said Van Beek.

He said even if there was a mur­der, there was even less ev­i­dence that it was his client, and that the State was re­ly­ing en­tirely on cir­cum­stan­tial ev­i­dence.

The court, he con­tended, had been asked to make mas­sive leaps in logic to de­ter­mine if there had even been a mur­der.

Be­cause of this, there was no way to dis­prove the numer­ous other pos­si­ble ways in which she died, or the po­ten­tial sus­pects who could have mur­dered her.

Be­cause of the lack of forced en­try into Mothupi’s home, it was clear she knew her killer, and ac­cord­ing to Van Beek, Mothupi’s neigh­bour, Jef­fer­son Jack­son, was likely the one who came in­side, as he had been flirt­ing with her on Face­book late that night.

The trial con­tin­ues.

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