It was a harrowing day in the Durban Magistrate’s Court, as the details of the Siam Lee murder were shared with the public.
The trial of the businessman accused of murdering Siam Lee took a harrowing turn on Wednesday, as the prosecution detailed the final few moments of the sex worker’s life.
It’s alleged that Philani Ntuli – an entrepreneur in his thirties – kidnapped and then murdered the young woman. TimesLive report he’s also on trial for charges of crimen injuria and rape.
Twenty-year-old Lee’s burnt body was found at a sugar cane farm in New Hanover, around the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in January and was identified by a family member after she had gone missing for a week. Although her identity had an agonising wait to be confirmed by the police, DNA results confirmed the worst.
The prosecution’s Surekha Marimuthu relayed the grizzly death Lee succumbed to, shocking the court. Mother of the victim, Carmen, was reduced to tears when confronted by the horror of what happened. Here’s what Marimuthu told the gallery:
Ntuli is said to have been “jilted” by Lee, who said she no longer wanted to see him on 4 January. He then arrived at her Smidtshoek Farm residence in New Hanover, in a black Mercedes-Benz Vianom, and threw her into the vehicle. He held her captive for a day, before executing the murder.
She was then dumped in the field, doused with petrol, and set alight. Lee was alive when her Ntuli decided to burn her. She suffered 90% burns and was killed by a haemorrhage to the brain, which occurred as a result of the cruel decision to set her on fire.
Protesters showed up outside of the Durban Magistrate’s Court to show their solidarity with the Lee family. Both Siam and Carmen were sex workers, who carried out sensual massage services.
Demonstrators came with a clear message: People in this line of work need more protection. Amongst their banners and placards was a sign that read “buying sex is not philanthropy”
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