Flavio Hlabangwane, the man accused of murder in connection with the body parts that were found in his fridge in Soweto, allegedly assaulted the deceased in a drug-induced fit of rage.
Hlabangwane, 26, appeared briefly in the Protea magistrate’s court yesterday, where he faces a charge of murder following the grisly discovery of a pair of human arms and legs in a deep freezer compartment of his fridge in Protea Glen on November 13.
Two police sources who have intimate knowledge of the investigation, yesterday told Sowetan that Hlabangwane had allegedly consumed a concoction of drugs including methcathinone (also known as kat) – a stimulating drug which speeds up messages between the brain and the body – and cocaine.
“This boy said he had an argument with the deceased and he struck her, which led to her falling on the floor and banging her head. At the time, he said he had taken kat and cocaine on the day of the incident,” said the officer.
Another officer said Hlabangwane had turned to drugs to help him cope with the pressures of being the sole breadwinner for his family.
“He said he usually buys these drugs in Zola. He said he was stressed because he was the only one providing for his family and that weighed him down because he was always stressed,” said the officer.
Although a timeline of the incident is not yet clear, the officer said Hlabangwane allegedly murdered his victim three weeks before the gruesome discovery was made by his new girlfriend.
“He said he did not remember the actual date of the day of the incident but said it was three weeks before the body parts were found.”
The identity of the deceased has not yet been confirmed and the police have said that the limbs, along with a head suspected to be part of the missing body, were sent to the forensic laboratory to ascertain the identity of the deceased.
During court proceedings yesterday, the court heard that Hlabangwane had attempted to kill himself in the morning before his appearance.
The news about his attempted suicide came out during his second appearance. Hlabangwane’s lawyer, Gift Mcube, told the court that he would be submitting an application for the 26-year-old actuarialist on his next appearance to undergo mental evaluation.
“We request that he be placed under observation (in custody) as he attempted to commit suicide this morning,” said Mcube. “Special care is needed and should be provided for him where he will be kept in custody.”
This is the second time Hlabangwane has attempted to take his own life. On the day of his arrest on November 13, Hlabangwane was captured on a video using a sharp object to slash his neck. He was subsequently taken to hospital where he was treated and discharged the following day.
During court proceedings, Hlabangwane’s hands were bound while he looked confused. His family – mother, three sisters and cousin – were present in court.
The court heard that his application to be represented by the Legal Aid Board was declined as he had failed the means test.
National Prosecuting Authority Gauteng spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said Hlabangwane did not qualify to be represented by a state lawyer as his income exceeded the limit used to gauge whether an accused had the means to afford a private attorney.
Magistrate David Mhango postponed the matter to November 30 when Hlabangwane’s lawyer is expected to submit an application for mental evaluation.