Hillary Gardee murder accused Philemon Lukhele to continue bail bid

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One of the four men accused of killing Hilary Gardee, Philemon Lukhele, is expected to appear at the Nelspruit Magistrate’s court in Mpumalanga for continuation of his bail application on Wednesday.

Lukhele’s quest to get bail on new facts started last week.

Lukhele, his co-accused Sipho Mkhatshwa and Albert Gama, were arrested a few days after Gardee’s lifeless body was found in a timber plantation a few kilometres outside Mbombela in May.

They are facing six charges including kidnapping, rape, murder, defeating the ends of justice, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Meanwhile, the fourth suspect Rassie Nkuna was arrested in August.

All the suspects are in custody.

Lukhele’s history

During his bail bid last month, his defence attorney Lesego Kwakwa cross-examined him. He told the court, he has been in the country for about 24 years, from Eswatini, his country of birth.

He came to South Africa as an asylum seeker and obtained permanent residence and is now in the process of naturalisation.

He also spoke about his current situation, after being arrested, saying he is failing to service payments on his three houses. The court was also told that he no longer has a stable income as he was suspended from work.

According to Kwakwa, the two accused, Lukhele and Mkhatshwa, opted to re-apply for bail based on new facts.