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Stella Londt murder trial resumes in GQ High Court

A trial-within-a-trial is underway in the Gqeberha High Court to determine whether a statement made by one of the accused in the Stella Londt murder trial will be admissible as evidence against him in court.

Luxolo Kruisjan claims that he was tricked into making a confession statement to the police.

Agnes Burns, 91, and her 87-year-old friend Rosemary Langton were killed during a robbery at the frail care centre in October 2019.

Their bodies were found bound and gagged in separate bedrooms, which had been ransacked.

Several valuable items, including Kruger Rands, had been stolen.

When the trial resumed on Thursday, the Investigating Officer, Constable Ridwaan Baatjies was under cross-examination by Defence Advocate Nash Vandayer.

Vandayer questioned Baatjies about the day of his client's arrest on 26 November 2019 at the Walmer Police Station and about certain utterances that Kruisjan allegedly made about being involved with the crime.

He said Kruisjan would deny making the utterances and that his Constitutional Rights had not been properly explained to him, but Baatjies said this was incorrect.

Vandayer asked Baatjies whether he contacted a Magistrate immediately after the utterances were made so that his client could make a confession statement.

Baatjies said he did not, and added that he wanted to first interview the accused and to take the time to properly explain his Constitutional Rights.

He agreed with Vandayer that his pocketbook served as an independent corroboration of work done, including noting whether an accused's rights were explained to them.

His pocketbook with this specific inscription is however not before the court, because he had given it to a Commander who has since passed away.

Vandayer said he did not understand why Baatjies could not produce the pocketbook and what the now-late Captain could have done with it.

To this, Baatjies responded that their pocketbooks are handed over to their Commanders when it's full.

Vandayer put certain statements to Baatjies, pertaining to a phone call that was made from the Walmer Police Station.

He said, according to his client, Baatjies had confiscated his cell phone, perused his contact list to find the number of one "Akhona", dialed it but then dropped the call upon hearing it was a woman on the other end.

Baatjies said this was "incorrect". According to him, he had allowed the accused to call a family member to tell them he had been arrested from his (Baatjies) cell phone.

He also said this phone call had taken place at the Mount Road Police Station, and not Walmer.

Another allegation that Baatjies refuted, was denying the accused access to his chronic medication.

Kruisjan's co-accused are a former caregiver at the centre Nomgebisi Slangveld, Mkuseli Damaneti, Nyasha Manyange, and Akhona Mnxeba.

They face eight charges including murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The trial continues.