A cast of Thembinkosi Khalipha’s teeth was made, using a contraption to keep his mouth open, to prove that he left his unique signature in cheese belonging to his victims.
A killer baited his own trap — sprang it — and put his gruesome grin behind bars. Now he’s thoroughly cheesed off.
Thembinkosi Khalipha’s liking for cheese saw him taking time out before leaving his crime scenes to chomp a chunk and wash it down with wine. That was his undoing.
Khalipha, 27, and co-accused Mbulelo Ngodi, 32, both of Matholesville in Roodepoort, were on trial in the Johannesburg High Court on Monday on 11 charges including an assortment of extremely violent crimes.
In the first incident on February 11 last year, the accused broke into the house of a Horison couple, who were in their 70s, attacked them and stole their household goods. Eight days later, the men broke into the Roodepoort home of George and Gassy Myburgh, both aged 87. They assaulted the couple and then strangled them.
In both incidents, after committing the violent crimes, Khalipha had helped himself to cheese and wine. Handing down his judgment, Judge Narien Pandya said the accused had been linked by DNA, fingerprints found on the scene and dental evidence.
He convicted both men for the offences committed in the Horison incident. The court acquitted Khalipha on charges of robbing and murdering the Myburghs but convicted his co-accused for the offences. Khalipha was found not guilty due to lack of evidence.
The judge detailed how dental expert Professor Herman Bernard had proved that toothmarks found on the cheese had been those of Khalipha. Bernard had testified that “there was a high degree of certainty that the bite marks on the cheese belonged to Khalipha”, said Judge Pandya.
The court also found that fingerprints found on a wine bottle were those of both accused. In addition, the accused were found in possession of the stolen items when they were arrested.
“The court finds both accused to be thorough liars. They fabricated their version (by claiming they had picked up the goods in the street). The victims were elderly people …. in both incidents it appears that cheese had been eaten. The cheese appears to be the favourite of accused number two,” he added. Sentencing proceedings were to be heard on Tuesday.