Pretoria - The father of a murdered 18-year-old girl on Tuesday told the High Court in Pretoria how he had desperately tried to shake her awake.
Themba Khumalo testified in the trial of Thato Kutumela, who has denied raping and killing his girlfriend Zanele Khumalo.
Zanele was five months pregnant with Kutumela’s child at the time of her death.
Khumalo testified that he had forbidden Kutumela entrance to his house about a month before his daughter’s death, after an incident which angered her.
He could not testify about what his daughter had told him after Acting Judge Johan Kruger ruled that the hearsay evidence and Zanele’s diary were inadmissible because it would prejudice Kutumela.
Kutumela denied ever lifting a hand to Zanele, although he admitted taking her cellphone from her during a quarrel.
The father said he returned home on the afternoon of April 21, 2011 after a business trip. His wife was at the gate to the Garsfontein, Pretoria, complex where they lived, saying she could not get anyone to open the door.
At first he thought his daughter and her sister had gone to the shops, but then went to check in their bedroom and saw Zanele on the bed.
“We thought she was sleeping. I immediately became angry because I thought we’d been knocking for so long and there she was just sleeping,” he testified.
She was lying down, apparently sleeping on her hands.
“I scolded her for sleeping so deeply. Her mother shook her and when she did not respond I also joined in shaking her. I realised she was not breathing... I felt for her pulse and there was none.”
He said his wife screamed and went outside.
“I remained because I had lapsed into a state of denial. I continued shaking her.”
Khumalo phoned for an ambulance and the police, but decided to take his daughter to a nearby hospital. A doctor at the hospital told him she had already been dead for between three to six hours.
Khumalo said he was on his way home when a woman phoned, saying she was Kutumela’s mother. She wanted to know where Zanele was. On hearing that his daughter was dead, she asked if she had been killed, and if her son had shot her.
She said when Kutumela had returned from work she saw him carrying blood- splattered clothes in a bag. He told her he had fallen ill at work, was vomiting blood and had gone to see a doctor.
The trial continues. - Sapa