A man has appeared in court charged with the murder and sexual mutilation of a lesbian in South Africa – along with claims he attended a vigil for the victim and comforted her family.

The body of Duduzile Zozo was found near her home in Thokoza on Gauteng’s East Rand, east of Johannesburg, on Sunday 30 June.

The 26-year-old had been sexually assaulted with a toilet brush and died from internal injuries.

Ms Zozo was killed in an apparent homophobic attack.

Lekgoa Lesley Motleleng, 22, appeared in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s court on Monday.

He was arrested and charged with murder in Thokoza, a township south of Johannesburg last week. 

According to court proceedings, Mr Motleleng, a neighbour, was one of the mourners who attended a night-time vigil before Ms Zozo’s burial and offered comfort and condolences to the family.

Her mother and sister were present in court and took pictures of the suspect on Monday.