KOALABATA double ritual murder suspect, Lehlohonolo Scott, this week narrated before the High Court how the police assaulted him until he soiled himself while in detention at Mabote Police Station in July 2012.
Lehlohonolo (30) was testifying in the case in which he and his mother ’Malehlohonolo (60) are accused of murdering fellow Koalabata residents, Moholobela Seetsa (13) and Kamohelo Mohata (22) in January and June 2012 respectively.
The trial resumed on Tuesday after it last proceeded in December 2016.
It was postponed on numerous occasions on account of ‘Malehlohonolo’s illness. She was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
The case resumed after ‘Malehlohonolo told the High Court judge Justice Teboho Moiloa that she was feeling “better”.
Narrating his alleged ordeal at the hands of police on 16 July, 2012 Lehlohonolo told the court that he ended up soiling himself after the police assaulted and suffocated him with a rubber-like material during interrogation.
He said during the ordeal the police sought to coerce him to admit involvement in the brutal killing of Mohata.
He said the ordeal happened after the police accompanied him and his mother to his home where they conducted a search.
“Upon arrival at Mabote Police Station, my mother and I and one, Sello Maema were locked in room where there was broken office furniture.
“Within a short time, I was called to another room in which I was ordered to sit on wooden bench in front of 20 police officers.
“One police officer, Khatleli asked me why I had killed Kamohelo.
“I asked him in turn, who Kamohelo was because I did not kill anybody.
“He told me that I should realise that I was at Ha-Mabote and I was going to soil myself. I got terrified by his statement and looking at his facial expression I could sense danger.
“He harshly repeated the same question and I gave the same answer,” Lehlohonolo said.
Lehlohonolo explained to court that he wanted police officer, Khatleli, to clarify which Kamohelo he was referring to because he knew four people by the name of Kamohelo in the village.
He said he had lived in Koalabata for nine years since 2003 until in 2012 when he was arrested.
He said his ordeal started immediately after his second response to police officer Khatleli’s question.
“Immediately after my answer all police officers who were present in that room shouted at me. They threatened me until I urinated myself.
“One police officer Matsoso approached me. He grabbed me by shoulders and shook me up telling me I was going to soil myself.
“I was so confused that I wished I could get away from that place,” he added.
Lehlohonolo said police officer Matsoso then went outside the interrogation room and his return marked the climax of his ordeal.
“He carried a roll of wire, two sticks, some plastic bags and a red tube and hand cuffs in his hands.
“One police officer, Khatleli, pulled out two surgical needles (syringes) from a drawer.
“Matsoso ordered me to stand up and take off my pair of trousers but I refused. He delivered a heavy blow on my face with his hand and I fell down.
“He stepped on my back, tied my feet to my hands using the wire and I lay on my abdomen on the floor. He sat on my hands and took the red rubber-like material and covered my face while another police officer poured some water on it.
“I was suffocated such that I felt like dying,” he narrated.
Lehlohonolo added: “Some police officers kept on shouting at me saying I should tell them about the things I had thrown in the donga. I did not know what things they were talking about.
“The rubber-like material was taken off my face and they told me to tell the truth. I told them I knew nothing about the murder.
“They did the same thing for a second time. When they did it for the third time I started soiling myself. I felt like I was dying.”
The case proceeds. It is prosecuted by Advocate Garreth Leppan, assisted by Advocate Thapelo Mokuku, while the Scotts are represented by Advocate Thulo Hoeane.
The Scotts were arrested on 12 July 2012 following the discovery of Seetsa and Mohata’s mutilated bodies in Koalabata. The mutilation of the bodies led to speculation the two had been killed for ritual purposes.
In addition to murder, Lehlohonolo also faces the charge of unlawful escape from Maseru Central Prison on 14 October, 2012 while awaiting trial.
After almost two years on the run, Lehlohonolo was arrested in Durban, South Africa on 6 April 2014 and lost his fight against extradition in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on 5 May, 2015.
He was extradited to Lesotho on 21 October 2015, where he awaits finalisation of his trials in custody.
For her part, ’Malehlohonolo was released on stringent bail conditions in August 2013.