Murderers and their Motives

Murray Colin and Sanders Peter

in Medicine Murder in Colonial Lesotho

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2005 | ISBN: 9780748622849
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652952 | DOI:
Murderers and their Motives

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Who instigated medicine murders? What did they want to achieve, and why? Who were drawn in as accomplices? Were they driven by loyalty or fear? In considering these questions, this chapter looks at the evidence relating to individual cases in aggregate. This consists primarily of court records, supported mainly by G. I. Jones's report and newspaper accounts. The statistical analysis is confined to 129 cases in the colonial period in which legal proceedings were brought. Although the court was centrally concerned with establishing whether or not the accused were guilty of murder and rarely examined in any detail the social and political context, it is possible to analyse patterns of participation and varieties of motive through detailed scrutiny of the records as a whole. Typically, a chief or headman who wanted liretlo enlisted the help of several accomplices and they carried out the murder together.

Keywords: accomplices; medicine murders; G. I. Jones; colonial period; court records; liretlo

Chapter.  12101 words. 

Subjects: African Studies

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