Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lauren Olivier, left tied up and gagged dying with 40 wounds - gardener confesses

Lauren Olivier, 28, was left tied up and gagged while dying with 40 wounds after she had called him 'a kaffir', claims gardener Makhela Johnson Thabethe in a signed confession... he'd only worked there a month...

26-Oct-2008 DURBAN HIGH COURT. South Africa. The man who had killed Sunningdale KZN mom Lauren Olivier in her luxury home on Sept 6 last year, confessed to his crime before a Durban High Court judge on Monday - but while the prosecutor accepted his guilty plea, she also warned the judge that it was not necessarily the whole truth.

"We cannot gainsay his version," state advocate Yasmin Vahed said of Makhele Johnson Thabethe's written plea... The judge agreed, sentencing the gardener to 30 years in prison.

According to the forensic report in the court documents, Mrs Olivier had suffered more than 40 puncture and stab wounds - not 19 as initially reported. The ferocity with which Mrs Olivier had been killed had sent shockwaves through the close-knit Sunningdale community. She was bludgeoned and stabbed while the young mom, still frail from childbirth, was also holding her baby, Jack.

The gardener claimed that she'd called him a kaffir and had refused to pay his day's wages... so he'd beat her with a monkey wrench, then stabbed her repeatedly, tied her up and gagged her to stop her from raising the alarm - and then just climbed out of a window and left.

Thabethe, pictured above, this week confessed to bludgeoning and stabbing the frail young mom but also wrote in his confession that he 'had left her baby unharmed'.

  • He then stole a mere R70 ($6,50), her cellphone and MP3 player and went into hiding for over a year. The police investigating team however regularly conducted interviews with the suspect’s family and never gave up trying to find him. Eventually, they had found the suspect hiding inside his family's house. He said in his confession however that he'd decided to go home and turn himself in because he felt guilty.

The chairman of the Durban north and Umhlanga community policing forum, Haden Searles, said Mrs Olivier’s widower Tony was “pleased” with the arrest. “He is happy about the arrest but it has opened up a lot of hurt and bad memories for him,' said Searles.

Her father Lindsay Shankland said they'd had only one question for her killer: Why? "We have battled with this so much, and all we want to know is why he did it," Olivier's father Lindsay Shankland said. And while the breakthrough in her murder 'would help with the healing process, it would in no way provide closure. An empty feeling would be with us; my wife and my two other children forever ,' her father told the news media.

According to her murderer's written confession, the young mom had been carrying baby Tony when Thabethe had followed her into her Sunningdale home from the garage, had bludgeoned her with a monkey wrench he had brought with him from the family's garage, and had then stabbed her repeatedly, and then gagged and tied her and left her next to her unharmed baby. He appeared before Judge Mohini Murugasen in the Durban High Court with his guilty plea.

With no witnesses to the crime itself, the state prosecutor said they were 'forced to accept his version of what happened on that afternoon.'

Thabethe said in his written statement that he had worked every Thursday for the Olivier family for only about a month, earning R60 after each day worked. On September 6 last year, he 'd arrived at work 15 minutes late and Olivier said he would have to work until 4.15pm that day to make up the lost time.

"At 4.15 I reported to her that I had finished my duties and was ready to leave. She said I could not and that I must move some cardboard boxes in the garage and clean it." The gardener said in his confession that he'd 'explained he needed to leave' and that he'd asked for half his wages. But Mrs Olivier said she would not pay him at all if he did not work in the garage after being late for work that morning. He said Mrs Olivier, carrying her baby, had followed him into the garage and called him "stupid", a "kaffir"and had sworn at him.

Angry and upset, he'd picked up a monkey wrench from the garage, ran behind her as she walked into the house and had bludgeoned her over the head.
She was still carrying her baby after this first attack with a heavy monkey-wrench, but then, he wrote... "Mrs Olivier grabbed hold of my left arm. I managed to free myself and picked up a knife in the kitchen and started to stab her as she approached me. She fell to the ground," he said. Thabethe said the alarm went off and he climbed into the ceiling to disconnect it. "I became scared of what I had done. To prevent her from alerting the neighbours, I tied her hands with a shoe lace and put a sock in her mouth. I did not harm her baby."

He said because he had not been paid, he then went to the bedroom and took R70 from Olivier's purse, a cellphone and MP3 player, and left through a window. A few days later he went to Nqutu township, where he lived until October this year. I felt guilty about what I did and returned home. I told my mum that I wanted to hand myself over to the police and she called the police," he said.
Defence advocate Thiagaraj Pillay suggested that Thabethe 'had lacked maturity in dealing with the provocation...' He admitted however to 'the brutality and severity of the crime', but also argued that there were 'substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the legislated minimum sentence of 15 years." However state prosecutor Vahed firmly disagreed, asking the judge to impose more than 15 years. She pointed out that Mrs Olivier had 'suffered more than 40 "puncture and stab wounds".

  • "He knew that she had recently given birth but he left her mortally wounded with her 2-month-old baby," she said.

The judge concurred: he sentenced the gardener to 30 years in prison - double the sentence asked for by the prosecution.

Picture sources: the Olivier family.

In the year up to March 2008, in this police district, there were 35 violence-related deaths (i.e. 7 murders + 28 culpible homicides).
There also were 33 armed assaults while 42 unarmed families were robbed inside their highly-secure homes, 22 businesses were attacked at gunpoint, 15 carjackings occurred from people's driveways and in front of their businesses and there were a reported 167 armed robberies in driveways and on the streets.

Five family homes attacked by armed gangs during previous week:
This year, in the week between 15 - 22 October 2008, the KZN Dog Unit arrested 276 suspects for various, usually very serious crimes in the region. These dedicated members were doing operations such as stop and search, roadblocks, cordon and search, visible patrols, tracing wanted suspects and attending to phoned-in complaints. Arrested were 7 murder suspects, three for attempted murder, five for armed robbery at family homes, four for hijacking, 11 for housebreaking, six for theft of motor vehicle, 17 for general theft, four for rape, 12 for malicious damage to property, 12 for assault and petty cases. Other suspects were arrested for possession of property suspected to be stolen, possession of drugs, possession of unlicensed firearms and -ammunition.

During their operations, 16 stolen vehicles, mandrax, 27 kg of dagga, 57 grams of cocaine, 210 grams of crack cocaine,13 tablets of ecstacy and eight unlicensed firearms were recovered. All arrested suspects appeared in the various Magistrates’ Courts.

Reported by Captain TEB Zwane , tel. (031) 325 4872, cellphone: 083 539 5726 Email,,752-2460_2415869,00.html

1 Opinion(s):

Marwinsing said...

Tragic, but it's the same old story of whites employing kaffirs. Give a kaffir a job and that's the thanks you'll get. I think God was trying to tell her something, something to the effect that she should dump her liberalist beliefs. Too late, unfortunately.