South Africa will seek the extradition of an Australian air hostess in relation with a 1999 case involving the murder and kidnapping of a woman in the country.
Johannesburg-based prosecutor Herman Broodryk told media persons that he would be seeking the extradition of former Jetstar air hostess Monique Neeteson-Lemkes.
The 38-year-old Australian flight attendant has been named as the alleged mastermind behind the torture and murder of a South African woman, Betty Ketani, in 1999. Three men were already convicted of the crime.
The prosecutor said he would also request Australia to extradite former Queensland policeman Mark Lister, who allegedly played a role in the kidnapping of Ketani, reports The ABC.
Lemkes, on another hand, has denied any involvement in Ketani’s death. Lemkes also told a current affairs program three years ago that she would not return to South Africa because she feared a fair trial will be denied. Policeman Lister also denied any part in the murder and kidnapping.
Ketani, a mother of three, went missing in May 1999. She was working in a Thai restaurant owned by Neeteson-Lemkes’ father in South Africa. For 12 years, there was no trace of the Queenstown-born woman’s whereabouts.
The mysterious disappearance remained unsolved until 2012 when a letter was discovered from a house in Johannesburg. It was written by former private detective Carrington Laughton, who admitted his role in the murder of Ketani. It said the murder followed a dispute over missing money from the restaurant. The letter also alleged that Neeteson-Lemkes was the real brain behind the kidnapping and murder of Ketani.
The letter revealed that Ketani was stabbed and dumped on the road, assumed to be dead. However, she was discovered alive by someone and was taken to a hospital. But the conspirators kidnapped her by posing as hospital staff. They then killed her.
Police later discovered small bones from the garden of the Johannesburg house and identified them as Ketani’s. Her body had been buried in the garden under the flower beds for five years before being thrown into a river, reports Times Alive.
Laughton together with two brothers, Carel and David Ranger, were convicted of murdering and kidnapping Ketani. Three others cut deals with the prosecutor and named Neeteson-Lemkes as the mastermind behind the murder.
Lemkes was born and brought up in Australia. She moved to South Africa to work for a while but returned to Australia in 2000. Lemke’s Australian lawyer, David Galbally said he was aware of the extradition request but said his client does not want to comment.