Bakkie driver arrested on murder charge

Police arrested a man on Thursday who allegedly stabbed his wife 12 times and then tried to disguise the murder as a botched hijacking by driving his bakkie into Durban’s harbour.

The 37-year-old husband was arrested at Durban’s St Augustine’s Hospital on Thursday morning.

Police spokesperson Inspector Michael Read said the man had been charged with murder of his 31-year-old wife, who was stabbed 12 times in the chest and arms.

Read said on Wednesday night the man had told police that he and his wife had earlier been hijacked on Durban’s Victoria Embankment by two men brandishing knives.

He claimed that one of the hijackers climbed into the passenger’s side of the bakkie, the other into the back. Read said the man claimed that the hijacker in the load box jumped out of the moving vehicle moments before it went off into the water.

However, police divers could only find the body of the wife. They did not find the body of the supposed hijacker in the bakkie, or any sign of the second hijacker who the man claimed had jumped out of the bakkie before it went into the water off Maydon Wharf.

The vehicle crashed through a boom and plunged into the water near the sugar terminal around 7.30pm.
The crew of the bulk carrier African Robin at anchor nearby threw the man a life ring when he surfaced.

The third officer on the vessel, Jenifer Jordan, said: “We pulled him out onto the jetty. He was just shouting his wife’s in the car with the robber.”

The ship had been loading sugar at the time of the incident. A security guard manning the boom said: “He was coming so fast, he was coming so fast, I waved him down, he didn’t stop and just went straight into the water.”

He said he had only seen one person in the car. The bakkie belonged to the man’s employer, a courier company. The bakkie was hoisted out of the water using a crane onboard the African Robin.

The husband was taken to hospital late Wednesday night, before being arrested on Thursday morning. He had not suffered any injuries.

After the woman’s body was loaded into the mortuary van, her family arrived at the scene. They were too distraught to talk to the media.

Her body was taken to the mortuary, where it would be determined whether she died of her wounds or by drowning. Initially police opened a case of hijacking, but this was changed to murder. The man was being detained at Durban’s Maydon Wharf police station and is expected to appear in court either on Friday or Monday. - Sapa

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