April 24, 2009 / 2:40 PM / 10 years ago

Man admits keeping nurse in car boot for 10 days

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A man admitted on Friday that he abducted a nurse and left her tied up in the boot of a car for 10 days.

Nurse Magdeline Makola, 38, was found dehydrated and on the point of death when she was found by police locked in the boot of her own Vauxhall Astra car on Boxing Day.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Justice Ngema, 35, from South Africa, pleaded guilty to abducting and assaulting Makola, the Press Association reported.

The nurse, from Livingston, West Lothian, Scotland, vanished after leaving work at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on December 15. Concern was raised when she failed to turn up to work three days later, and she was finally found in Airdrie, Lanarkshire.

“This is a crime that shocked people in West Lothian and across the country,” said Morag McLaughlin, Area Procurator Fiscal for Lothian and Borders.

“Justice Ngema abducted Magdeline Makola, tied her up and left her in the boot of her car. Ten days later, police officers found her still locked in the boot, bound and gagged, with no food or water and fading hopes of survival.”

The court heard that Ngema, who was in Britain illegally having been deported in 2002, had previously appeared at his victim’s home, and, on the day she was abducted, had invited himself in and asked for a drink.

Advocate-depute Alex Prentice said Makola, who was born in South Africa, was threatened with a knife, punched in the head, bound, and forced to hand over details of her bank cards.

Ngema then used her cards to go on a shopping spree, taking trips with his girlfriend, buying champagne and visiting bars.

Meanwhile Makola was bound and gagged in the boot of her own car in temperatures that fell to sub-zero. She never saw where she was but guessed she was taken to an airport, railway station and along the M8 motorway, the court heard.

She was forced to urinate in the car and began losing consciousness. When police found her on December 26 she was screaming from the pain, and had renal failure because of muscle damage and dehydration, Prentice said.

“She would not have survived a further two days in the boot of the car,” he said.

Ngema pleaded guilty to 14 charges including assault to severe injury, abduction and robbery, and a series of thefts. He was remanded in custody to be sentenced in July.

“When I was taken I did not think I was going to survive and the experience of being trapped is one that will stay with me for the rest of my life,” Makola, who has made a good recovery, said in a statement read by police outside court.

“I have a strong faith in God and I spent a lot of time praying that someone would find me. Praying gave me a lot of strength and when the policeman opened the door I was so happy that my prayers had been answered.”

She said she felt no anger toward Ngema and would pray for him.

Detective Inspector Alan Sommerville said: “It is clear that Justice Ngema is a manipulative individual, motivated by his own greed, and it is typical of his character that he has shown no remorse for his actions.”

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison

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