November 21 2013 at 09:42am By Shain Germaner
Johannesburg - The woman accused of the murder of US embassy employee Christopher Norman Bates in Joburg says she was forced to kill him in self-defence after he “went psycho”.
But two witnesses called in to testify in her trial have pointed out several contradictions in her story.
Bates was found dead at his complex in Illovo in January, and Lorraine Mogapi was found next to his body, holding the alleged murder weapon.
Her trial began at the Johannesburg High Court, which is sitting in Palm Ridge, on Wednesday. It was the first time that Mogapi gave her side of the story before a court.
She admitted to being a prostitute who had agreed to have sex with the 41-year-old on the night of the murder.
The pair drove back to Bates’s home. Mogapi claims that after they had sex, an argument erupted because he refused to pay her the agreed R200.
Bates had called her “ugly” and a “bitch”, saying she wasn’t worth the cost.
As the argument boiled over, Bates allegedly retrieved a large knife from the kitchen.
Bates rushed to a sink to wash the pepper spray from his eyes, and Mogapi grabbed the knife he had put down.
However, she was unfamiliar with the complex’s layout and was unable to get to the security gate.
Mogapi said Bates had picked up a baseball bat from his car. “I’m going to kill you, bitch,” he had said while approaching her.
State witness Thembelani Nyathi, who works at the complex, had seen some of the argument from her unit’s window.
Nyathi said the argument outside the house had been loud enough to wake her up. But she said there wasn’t a chase - rather, Bates had been walking ahead of Mogapi towards the complex’s driveway.
Nyathi told the court she heard Mogapi saying “You are calling me a prostitute again?” and “I will show you.”
Then she heard: “I’ll kill you!” and the sound of a person falling to the ground.
Another State witness, Linda Jackson, Bates’s upstairs neighbour, also contradicted Mogapi’s claims.
Jackson said she was woken up by a thud from Bates’s home below. She went to her second bedroom window and heard Mogapi and Bates arguing below.
Jackson said she went to her bathroom. When she looked out her window again, Bates was lying on the ground, a baseball bat in his hand.
After phoning for help, she saw the complex security guard approaching Mogapi and Bates’s body.