‘God will punish killer’

2010-06-04 00:00

THE tearful mother of Estcourt murder victim Safia Asmal (19) welcomed the 20-year jail term imposed on her killer, Shuaib Sathar (23), yesterday, but said no sentence can bring her daughter back.

”I think it [the sentence] is okay … God will also punish him,” said an emotional Fatima Manack, who was supported by family members.

The brutality with which Sathar killed Asmal, his cousin, on September 15, 2005, was described yesterday by Judge Atkins Moleko, sitting with two assessors, as “inhuman”.

Manack’s son, Mohamed Azeem Yunus, jumped bail last week before he could be sentenced on murder and attempted murder charges. The charges arise from an attack on a car in which Sathar’s mother, Sarah Sathar, was a passenger on the N3 in 2007.

Manack told The Witness she has not heard from her son.

“But this [Safia’s murder] was the root cause of everything … It has caused so many problems,” she said.

In a note handed to the reporter before the sentencing process, Manack wrote that the two crimes cannot be compared. “I am not ashamed of my son.”

Sathar, whose parents Sarah and Asgur Sathar were not present in court for the first time yesterday, stood unmoving while sentence was passed on him and showed no reaction.

Shortly afterwards a small smile played around his mouth as his advocate, Gideon Scheltema SC, noted the defence’s intention to bring an application for leave to appeal against his conviction at a later date.


The judge said the court was aware that Sathar maintains his innocence, despite being found guilty.

He ruled that Asmal’s murder was a premeditated and “sustained” attack as evidenced by the extreme brutality of her injuries, which included a slit throat, multiple stab wounds and severe head injuries, including a fractured skull.

The judge said it emerged from the evidence of Sathar’s mother that on the morning of the murder she stopped her son from visiting a certain friend.

“As a result, he tore up his learner’s licence and his identity document … he did not go for his driving lesson and left the house carrying some spare clothing. He said he was going to Pietermaritzburg. When he asked his mother for money … she refused.”

The judge said Sathar pointed out to police the sofa that he and Asmal were sitting on when they started to argue, and from where he picked up a dumbbell to hit her with.

He further pointed out where Asmal fell and from where he picked up a knife (which he had fetched from the kitchen) and used it to slit Asmal’s throat and stab her “a few times”.

Dr Lalitha Badul, who performed the postmortem, said the victim’s throat was cut while she lay on the ground.

The wound to Asmal’s neck extended from left to right, cutting through the trachea and oesophagus. It was five to six centimetres deep.

It was her evidence that “more than one stroke” of the serrated knife was applied to the neck, said the judge.

“She also found multiple stab wounds and severe head injuries and a fractured skull … This was a sustained attack,” he said.

The judge said it was aggravating that Asmal was murdered in her own home.

There was no evidence of forced entry and Asmal must have allowed Sathar in. He had abused her trust.

Sathar was saved from a life sentence by the cumulative effect of mitigating factors weighed against the aggravating features of the case.

The Estcourt community has been in an “uproar” over the murder, Molefo said.

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