Lindray Khakhu, accused of killing three-year-old Luke Tibbetts, appears in the Johannesburg High Court, sitting in Palm Ridge.
JOHANNESBURG - The fresh-faced Al Capone of Westbury. On his padlocked feet were a brand new pair of shoes, definitely made for running.
Twenty-two-year-old Lyndray Khakhu won’t be doing that ever again – unless it’s within the confines of prison.
Khakhu looked unfazed as the presiding judge likened him to Al Capone and gave him two life sentences plus 42 years for a string of crimes.
The challenge facing Checkpoint’s researcher Livhu Manyatshe and I was how to make our story stand out amid the reams of text and hourly news stories on this case.
A case that shocked everyone, when Khakhu shot and killed toddler Luke Tibbetts in August last year while recklessly taking aim at a rival gangster.
Luke lay on life-support in hospital for an agonising six days before he died, his little body unable to fight the massive injuries sustained from a bullet in the head.
By the time he died, we’d all become experts on the Fast Guns and the Majimbos gangs and the socio-economic challenges facing Westbury, a Coloured area west of Johannesburg.
We found out that Khakhu had once been offered a scholarship to the prestigious German International School in Auckland Park, but that his parents had been unable to afford the additional costs that went with it. How differently his life could have turned out had he channeled his energy and promise off the streets and into the classroom.
We drew up an application to get our cameras into court. These days, post-Pistorius, a court case just isn’t a court case without seeing the nuances: Lyndray’s idle yawning during sentencing, his girlfriend’s tears and the Tibbetts family’s agony. Khakhu’s own mother hugging him after sentencing – and those turquoise Nike trainers.
We obtained gripping footage shown to the court, casting light on the rivalry between individual gang members in Westbury. They’d hung out at a drinking-hole called “The G-Spot”, which actually had CCTV cameras that worked.
Surprisingly, no other media had requested the footage and the prosecution saw no reason we shouldn’t broadcast it after Khakhu had been put away for life. The video reveals what gangsters do on a night out – alcohol, cars and guns play a prominent role.
A rude hand gesture can be life-threatening, it seems. It was a middle finger at the G-Spot preceding the shooting that led to the death of Luke Tibbetts.
By Megan Lubke
Watch the Checkpoint episode The Al Capone of Westbury on Tuesday, 2 April on eNCA DSTV Channel 403 at 21:00pm and eTV at 21:30pm.