South Africa

Murder-accused Philemon Lukhele moved to maximum correctional facility

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Philemon Lukhele, one of the accused in the murder case of Hillary Gardee, was found in possession of a smuggled-in phone and has been moved to a maximum correctional facility.

MURDER-ACCUSED LUKHELE WAS FOUND WITH A SMUGGLED PHONE

Lukhele, along Sipho Nkala and Mduduzi Nkala was charged with conspiracy for murder, kidnapping, rape, murder, possession of a firearm, and defeating the ends of justice.

This comes after Hillary was brutally shot and killed execution-style.

Her body was found in an area just outside Mbombela, previously known as Nelspruit, in Mpumalanga four days after she was reported missing.

She was found with bruises on her arms and was hanging on and clutching to pieces of grass, which indicate that at some point, she was alive, and there was resistance.

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According to the Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo, Lukhele was found to be in possession of a mobile phone on 24 May 2022 at the Nelspruit Correctional Centre.

‘MOBILE PHONES CLASSIFIED AS CONTRABAND’

“Mobile phones are classified as contraband inside correctional facilities, thus making them unauthorised items.”

He said an investigation is currently underway as it is critical to ascertain the circumstances under which this mobile phone was smuggled and the people involved.

ALSO READ: WATCH: Man arrested in connection with Hillary Gardee’s BRUTAL murder

A criminal case has also been registered with the South African Police Service.

Nxumalo said Lukhele had been transferred to a Maximum Section of the Barberton Correctional Centre.

‘THOSE INVOLVED IN SMUGGLING CONTRABAND WILL NEVER BE SPARED MERCY’

“For the country to have safe and secure correctional centres, we expect nothing but strict adherence to safety standards from all those who interface with the Department of Correctional Services.

“Hence, visitors, inmates, officials, and private citizens caught contravening our regulations shall be dealt with through the criminal justice system.”

He furthermore said the Department of Correctional Services’ resolve is clear, “those involved in the smuggling of contrabands shall never be spared any mercy.”

ALSO READ: UPDATE: Hillary Gardee found murdered with headwounds, still in the same clothes

Lukhele is a 39-year-old, ANC member in Mpumalanga. He has been working for the ANC in the province for over 15 years before he was suspended from the party last month. 

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