Police ‘forced me to admit to murder’

2007-12-08 00:00

Soft-spoken Estcourt murder accused, Mohammed Shoaib Sathar — charged with killing his cousin, Safia Mahomed (21) in 2005 — gave evidence via an interpreter in the high court yesterday in a trial-within-a-trial in which he denies that he voluntarily made statements and did pointings out to police and others after his arrest.

The court decided to use an interpreter to relay Sathar’s evidence, as the accused spoke so quietly that he could not be heard.

He claimed in his evidence that he had been scared of investigating officer Inspector “Mags” Moothilal and his partner, Inspector Frans Hartwell, whom he described as a “big giant”.

Sathar said police took him to a caravan park near a river, told him to undress and that he was “going for a swim”. When he hesitated he alleged that Moothilal slapped and pushed him causing him to fall “into some branches”. When he “woke up” he felt pain in his stomach where he’d undergone an operation some two months earlier.

Moothilal asked him if he was “ready to co-operate”, and because he was scared he had said he was.

“He then put me back in the car. He told me he is the investigating officer in this case and told me that he knows that I slit the deceased’s throat. He told me he knows I hit her with a dumb bell … he knows I poked her a few times and … that I threw the knife by the railway line.”

Sathar testified that during a pointing out at the murder scene Moothilal had asked him questions, and that when he did not want to respond, he had “tapped” him on his hand. He’d also told him to point so that photographs could be taken of him.

Sathar said later at the railway line Moothilal instructed him to “look for the knife”.

“Moothilal seemed to know where the knife was. He then told me, there it is. I asked him where and he pointed it out,” he said.

Sathar was 19 years old at the time of the alleged commission of the murder on September 15, 2005.

The state alleges that prior to the murder, Sathar became disgruntled and exasperated with his cousin to the extent that he conspired to kill her. At about midday on the day in question he allegedly went to the house on a pretext of visiting her, knowing she would be alone.

After she invited him in, he allegedly instigated an argument with her, picked up a dumb bell and hit her on the head. He then went to the kitchen and armed himself with a knife. He allegedly returned to the injured woman, stabbed her in the neck and slit her throat.

He allegedly fled in possession of the murder weapon, which he threw away near a railway at Barfield Road.

Mahomed died of severe haemorrhage “due to bleeding from multiple lacerations”.

The case has been adjourned until May 5 next year. Sathar is in custody.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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