S.African white extremist murder trial postponed

20th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

A South African court on Thursday postponed the murder trial of two black farmworkers accused of hacking to death white supremacist leader Eugene Terre'Blanche to next year.

The high court postponed the trial until January 30 as there was not enough time for hearings to conclude by Friday after nearly two weeks in which testimony pointed to the discovery of semen on his body and details of his bloody injuries.

The court heard Thursday that Terre'Blanche did not try to defend himself against the blows that killed him and that no pathologist was called to the crime scene in an "highly unusual" move for the high-profile murder.

"It is my opinion that the injury to the head was the first injury, followed by the face, and then the chest and thighs," testified pathologist Ruweida Moorad.

Terre'Blanche, co-founder of the white-separatist Afrikaner Resistance Movement, was killed while lying on his back and was likely knocked unconscious by the first blow, she said.

His wounds were consistent with those inflicted by a machete and the cause of death was blunt force to the head, chest and neck.

The murder, at his farm in the northwest town of Ventersdorp, revived lingering racial tensions from the apartheid era.

The autopsy report said he had suffered numerous injuries to his face and body, but none suggesting self-defence. In earlier testimony, police said he was found with semen on his penis.

Moorad, who did the autopsy three days after Terre'Blanche was murdered in April 2010, said a semen-like fluid seen in photos of Terre'Blanche's corpse may have been wiped off.

"Perhaps when it [the body] was transported in a body bag it was wiped off. I honestly don't know," she said.

Both accused -- 29-year-old Chris Mahlangu and a 15-year-old minor who cannot be named -- have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The pair turned themselves in after the murder, and police said they had confessed to killing their boss following a fight over wages.

But the accused deny that version of events. The minor denies any involvement in the murder, while Mahlangu says he killed Terre'Blanche in self-defence after the farmer attacked him with a machete.

© 2011 AFP

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