Cape Town - A couple accused of butchering a cop and burying him in their backyard had an emotional reunion in the dock yon Monday.
Barnabas Sentiwe and his partner Phumla Veli only had eyes for each other when they briefly appeared at the Blue Downs Magistrates’ Court.
Phumla Veli and her lover Barnabas Sentiwe in the doc. Credit: INLSA
The pair are accused of beating and beheading Constable Monwabisi Mnyombolo in their Mfuleni home in October 2009.
It has been claimed Sentiwe flew into a jealous rage because he thought his cop neighbour was having an affair with his lover.
Constable Mnyombolo was reported missing on October 26. His remains were discovered almost two years later on May 12, 2011, by a new owner of the house.
Sentiwe reportedly kept the 29-year-old’s body in his house for two days before burying the head and body in the backyard.
The “killer” boldly took out his wallet after his partner joined him in the stand yesterday and gave her money and a phone card. He then took off his gold necklace and handed it to Phumla.
The two stood inches apart, not touching but constantly whispering to one another and maintaining regular eye contact.
Sentiwe, dressed smartly in a finely-pressed dress shirt and black pants, stood in stark contrast to Phumla who was casually clad in a striped vest and cargo pants.
He constantly played with each of the six silver rings on his fingers.
The pair appeared lost in their own world, only resurfacing to answer direct questions from the magistrate.
And in a surprise twist, Phumla dramatically abandoned her quest for freedom when she told the court she would no longer proceed with her bail application.
This comes after the couple’s murder trial was transferred to the Western Cape High Court by Magistrate Deon van der Spuy.
Phumla was days away from the commencement of a bail hearing, which was set to start next week Monday.
But she told her defence lawyer Gary Petersen she wanted to stay in prison for the duration of the trial to speed up the legal process.
The couple have been in custody since 2011. Their trial is set to start on February 22.
Angry community members crowded into the small court room to get a glimpse of the couple.
The small group protested outside court earlier in a bid to have the two alleged killers kept in prison for the remainder of the trial.
But Constable Mnyombolo’s family say they are happy there is finally progress with the case.
The victim’s younger sister, Nqabakazi Mnyombolo, 26, tells the Daily Voice: “The sooner this trial begins, the sooner it can end – and hopefully the truth will come out.
“We have all been through a lot and all we ask for is for justice to be carried out and for the real motive for my brother’s death to surface.”