Sunday, 14 April, 2024
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Man in custody for murder of Gqeberha physiotherapist

The man who appeared in court this week in connection with the fatal stabbing of Gqeberha physiotherapist Marolien Schmidt a week ago was being sought by prison officials for violating previous parole conditions.

He had been traced to a nearby abandoned building, after police viewed CCTV footage, reports HeraldLIVE.

Police spokesperson Captain Sandra Janse Van Rensburg said the motive appeared to be robbery, and that the man had previous convictions for murder and robbery.

On Monday, despite the court’s efforts to convince Simxolele Zitshu to have legal representation appointed to him, he refused, saying he would represent himself during his formal bail application on Tuesday.

He had said he “just wants to tell the truth”, before admitting his previous convictions for violent crimes.

However, on Tuesday, he changed his mind, after indicating he would abandon his bid for bail and plead guilty.

Prosecutor Melanie Hammett told the court that he had first said he had no intention of appointing an attorney or of trying to get bail and was considering pleading in the matter.

But when Magistrate Dumisani Apollos explained the process to Zitshu again, telling him an attorney would be able to help him with the legal proceedings, he decided he would apply for an attorney through Legal Aid and wanted to proceed with a bail application.

When asked if Zitshu still intended to plead in the matter, his newly appointed Legal Aid representative said he did not give her clear instructions about his plea.

Apollos said it seemed Zitshu had failed to understand proceedings clearly the previous day, hence his change of heart.

A court official told HeraldLIVE the department of correctional services had been looking for Zitshu before his arrest because he had failed to adhere to the parole conditions set for him after being released from prison several years ago.

“It seems he was released but then absconded and failed to report to his parole officer or his nearest police station, as stated in the parole conditions.

“Simply put, he was convicted of murder and robbery, but dropped off the radar after his release and the department has been unable to locate him since,” the official said.

Zitshu is expected to appear again on 22 August for a formal bail application and for the court to obtain a detailed report from the correctional services department.

He will remain in custody until then.

Schmidt, who was an Iron Man athlete, has been described as a dynamic and excellent physiotherapist, an animal lover, and supporter of the sick.

 

HeraldLIVE article – Suspect in murder of Nelson Mandela Bay physio does U-turn, opts for Legal Aid (Restricted access)

 

HeraldLIVE article – Marolien Schmidt murder accused has history of violent crimes (Restricted access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

Gqeberha physiotherapist stabbed to death

 

Ex-wife of murdered Eastern Cape GP in court for his murder

 

Orthopaedic surgeon alleged to have planned hit on neurosurgeon is murdered

 

Soweto GP’s murder ‘a hit, not a robbery’, says brother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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