Joseph Phage murder

Joseph Phage, 38, was arrested when the police found the girl’s body in his shack. Image: Canva

MURDER: Man searches internet to find out how to cut up girlfriend’s body

Alutha Pasile, has been found guilty of murder after he researched online how to dismember his girlfriend’s body and pack it in plastic bags.

Joseph Phage murder

Joseph Phage, 38, was arrested when the police found the girl’s body in his shack. Image: Canva

A 25-year old man who killed his student girlfriend and then searched the internet for tips on how to dismember and dispose of her body in a suitcase was found guilty of murder in the East London High Court on Monday.

Alutha Pasile was also found guilty of attempting to defeat the course of justice after murdering, Nosicelo Mtebeni, 23, who was a University of Fort Hare student at the time she was living with him.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson, Anelisa Ngcakani, said that the court handed down the verdict shortly after Pasile had pleaded guilty to both charges against him.

In his guilty plea, murder-accused Pasile stated that Mtebeni was his girlfriend and that they met on 23 January 2019. During the course of their relationship they decided to move in together and resided in Quigney in East London. 

He stated that they became close to the point where they even shared each other’s cellphones.

He further told the court that Mtebeni visited her home in Matatiele on 01 August  2021 and returned seven days later. When she returned Pasile said that her behaviour was peculiar and she had changed the password to her phone. He suspected that she was cheating. 

“On 16 August 2021, the couple enjoyed an evening of drinking together. However, he noticed that Mtebeni paid more attention to her cellphone than him. He confronted her and the two argued,” Ngcakani said.

“The following day, while she was in the bathroom, he managed to crack her new code and saw ‘I love you’ and ‘I miss you’ messages. He said he confronted her and that she instead attempted to take her cellphone from him,” Ngcakani said.

Giving his account of what transpired thereafter, Pasile said he then grabbed a knife and stabbed her. However, the knife fell as she fought back. 

“He grabbed Mtebeni and pushed her hard against a wall. She hit her head, fell face down and died,” Ngcakani said.

Murderer did internet research to dispose of body

“In an effort to conceal his crime, he said he conducted research on the internet on how to dispose of a body. He found a video which showed a body being dismembered , placed in a suitcase and thrown away. He then bought himself the Tik drug and smoked it as he struggled to sleep,” Ngcakani said.

“The following day on  18 August 2021, he visited a local hardware store and bought the equipment he saw being used in the video to dismember the body. Pasile consumed more Tik in order to give himself courage to dismember Mtebeni’s body,” he said. 

The murder accused told the court that he had then placed the body parts in a bag, suitcase and plastic bags. 

“Early the following morning he took the suitcase and the bag to the street to dispose of them,” Ngcakani said. 

Senior State Advocate, Nickie Turner confirmed that the guilty plea for the murder charge was in accordance with information at her disposal. 

Judge Bheshe accepted Pasile’s guilty plea and found him guilty of both counts. 

The state thereafter commenced with its case for sentence proceedings for the murder and other chages. It closed its case after leading the evidence of three witnesses. 

The murder case was postponed to Thursday for a pre-sentencing report.