South Africa

Senzo Meyiwa trial: No bloodstains found on bullet projectile, witness tells court

A new state witness in the Senzo Meyiwa murder trial says no bloodstains were found on the bullet projectile found at the crime scene.

Colonel Thobeka Mhlahlo became the latest witness to take the stand in the trial at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria following the conclusion of the cross-examination of her colleague, Thabo Mosia.

Mhlahlo, who has been working for the South African Police Service (Saps) for 22 years, compiled a report of the crime scene where Meyiwa was shot.

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She had revealed on Monday that she was tasked with taking pictures, investigating fingerprints and drawing a rough sketch of the floor plan of the house.

The former Bafana Bafana goalkeeper was fatally shot by what the state alleges were armed intruders at the Vosloorus family home of his then girlfriend, singer Kelly Khumalo, on 26 October 2014.

Crime scene analysis

Continuing with her evidence on Tuesday, Mhlahlo told the court she was the person who discovered a bullet projectile on the kitchen counter in the Khumalo house when the crime scene was being assessed on the morning of 27 October. This confirmed Mosia’s version of events.

Mosia had testified that he only noticed a bullet fragment on the kitchen floor on his first visit to the house.

However, during his second visit – after attending two other crimes scenes – Mhlahlo detected the bullet projectile behind glass jars on the counter.

Mhlahlo explained that the projectile, which was put in a brown envelope and marked as exhibit one, could have ricocheted from the door after the gun went off then landed on the kitchen counter.

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She said one of the photos she took depicted the pieces of the door on the counter.

“When Colonel Zwane debriefed us about the scene, he said that this door is where it’s suspected the bullet hit. When we looked, we wanted to see as to whether the bullet went out or where is it. Then when we searched and removed the items on the counter that’s where we found the bullet head.”

The court previously heard that police officers at the scene noticed a hole on the kitchen door, but the bullet had not exited on the other side.

There was also a bullet hole on a floor tile, which Mhlahlo said was spotted by Mosia.

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Mhlahlo indicated that the officers assessed the alcohol cans found in the sitting room and took fingerprints, but did not find any cartridge on the scene.

She said Mosia took the forensic and ballistic exhibits he collected with him and they all left the scene at around 2:30pm.

The crime scene investigator revealed that she went to the mortuary the following day with a doctor and another officer.

No bloodstains

Mhlahlo’s version of events was later tested by defence lawyer Advocate Sipho Ramosepele during her cross-examination.

Ramosepele asked about the condition of the crime scene when Mhlahlo arrived, but she referred the lawyer back to her photos.

“[The scene] was exactly the same way I took the pictures,” she said.

Mhlahla disputed Ramosepele’s suggestion that the main focus during the analysis of the scene was kitchen and the sitting room.

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“Where did the processing of the scene start?” the advocate asked.

“We started outside and then inside. We photographed the outside as to how it looked like outside of the scene. We then went inside to swab, starting with bedroom one,” the officer replied.

Mhlahla also told the court that the bullet projectile retrieved from the scene did not have any bloodstains.

She also said there were no bloodstains by the kitchen door or the kitchen counter where the projectile was found.