Murdered and mutilated student found with breasts cut off and knife in neck

A young woman who was brutally murdered and mutilated had both of her breasts cut off and her body had been burnt, police say.

Details of the gruesome murder of 21-year-old Naledi Lethoba have emerged after her body was found in an open field in Welkom, South Africa

Miss Lethoba, a student from Bothaville, was found dead with a knife still in her neck, both of her breasts had been removed and she had burns to her lower body and face.

Her devastated parents had to identify her body at a mortuary after she was found dead on the morning of May 19.

Police spokesperson Capt Stephen Thakeng told Times Live: "The body was found with a knife stuck in her neck, both breasts cut off and burn wounds on her lower body and face."

A passer-by found Miss Lethoba's body in an open field in Dagbreek, Welkom, at around 8am on May 19.

Police have said a motive for the killing is not known.

Miss Lethoba's funeral was held on Saturday.

A 19-year-old student, named as Obed Leshoro, was arrested on suspicion of murder after his parents handed him over to police.

DS Sgt Tsie Matlokotsi said after the arrest: "Since the discovery of this gruesome scene, the investigation team worked around the clock following every lead from residents who gave information.

"The 19-year-old student of one of the colleges in Welkom was arrested [on May 28 2019] by the investigator after he was handed over to the police by the young man's parents."

The suspect was remanded in custody when he appeared in court on Thursday.

Dozens of students from Goldfields TVET College, which Miss Lethoba attended, gathered outside the court house to demand justice.

Twitter users have been using the hashtag #justicefornaledi as they call for an end to violence towards women.

One woman tweeted: "I am numb, downhearted by Naledi Lethoba's brutal murder, how did we get here?

"When did women become the target to heartless men?

"We will keep saying #justicefornaledi but we all know the SA justice system is s***ty and always failing women!!! #RipNaledi."

Another woman wrote: "As you are being laid to rest today. My prayer is God to give your family strength and for the system not to disappoint them. RIP beautiful!"

And one tweeted: "I'll ask again how many more women have to die before the government realises there's a national emergency in this country relating to femicides and rape?"

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