Shaik ‘wasn’t at murder scene’

2008-04-21 00:00

Pietermaritzburg businesswoman and convicted murderer Yasmin Shaik could not be connected by forensic evidence to the scene of the murder of mother Valentia Vather (38), the high court heard on Friday.

Vather’s husband, Nico (35), has pleaded not guilty before Judge Piet Koen and two assessors to the murder of his wife on the night of November 2, 2005. She was found stabbed to death in the couple’s Prestbury cottage the following morning. Vather was arrested at the scene.

Vather claims that when he left his wife and son at home at about 7.50 pm that night, they were “well” and were in the company of Shaik, whom Vather befriended while they were both in prison.

Shaik — who gained notoriety as the so-called “suitcase murderer” for masterminding the murder of her husband’s alleged mistress in Johannesburg in 1992 — was confronted last week with allegations by Vather through his advocate, Di Franklin, that she had “fallen in love” with Vather and was “almost obsessed” by him.

Shaik denied having had any friendship or sexual relationship with Vather, and said she obtained a protection order against him to stop him harassing her.

On the night of the murder, he alleges, she visited their home and he had a “tiff” with his wife. When Valentia left the room, he claims that Shaik placed R1 000 in an envelope, kissed it, and handed it to him. Vather’s advocate said her client will say he removed the cash before leaving for a bar, but left the envelope behind.

SAPS forensic expert Captain “Flippie” Ferreira said he did not find any fingerprints matching Shaik’s in the Vathers’ house. He took a “lip print” from Shaik to compare with a lipstick mark on an envelope found at the scene, which was “definitely not” Shaik’s.

Both Ricky Naidoo, a colleague of Valentia Vather, and her brother, Reynard Royappen, testified that Valentia was in the habit of “kissing” pieces of paper or tissue after applying lipstick in order to remove the excess from her lips.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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