Body Parts in Refrigerator Case: More Time Needed to Write Defendant’s Mental State Report

Murder accused Flavio Hlabangwane.

Grandpa Morake, Gallo Images

  • Flavio Hlabangwane has been charged with murder after parts of a woman’s body were found in his fridge in November.
  • In January, he was admitted to a mental institution after two suicide attempts.
  • The case was back in court on Friday but was adjourned for the institution to complete its assessment of him.

The case against the man accused of murder after body parts were found in his fridge has been postponed, to allow the mental institution where he is being assessed to complete its assessment.

Flavio Hlabangwane was due Friday at Protea Magistrates Court in Soweto after spending almost a month in Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital. The court heard that the facility needed more time to complete its report on his mental state.

He was arrested in November after body parts were discovered inside the fridge in a back room he rented in Protea Glen. His partner made the discovery and alerted the police.

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His lawyers filed a motion, unopposed by the state, that he undergo a mental evaluation after two suicide attempts. First, he attempted suicide after the body parts were found.

Then, when he made his first court appearance the following week, his lawyer told the court that he had attempted suicide a second time in prison.

National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Phindi Mjonondwane said the report will help determine whether Hlabangwane “had the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of the murder” he allegedly committed at the time of the incident.

In the event that the psychiatrists and psychologists evaluating him cannot reach a unanimous consensus on the matter, each will have to file individual findings on his mental state, Mjonondwane said.

The body parts are believed to be those of Hlabangwane’s cousin. It is believed that they were involved in a relationship.

Relatives of the woman were in the courtroom Friday wearing T-shirts with her face and the caption “Am I next?”.

News24 tried to approach the family for comment, but a spokesperson said they were still too frustrated and emotional to speak to the media.

The case will return to court on March 18.

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