Taliep considered divorcing Najwa, court hears

Murdered theatre personality Taliep Petersen considered divorcing his wife, Najwa, but was worried about what people would think of him, his younger brother, Igsaan, told the Cape High Court on Friday.

Igsaan was the third witness in the trial of Najwa and three alleged hit men, who have pleaded not guilty to Taliep’s execution-style shooting on the night of December 16 2006.

He confirmed earlier evidence from a cousin of Najwa’s that the couple had slept in separate bedrooms since Najwa stabbed Taliep in the neck while he was sleeping in April 2006.

Asked by prosecutor Shareen Riley whether Taliep laid charges against her in the wake of that incident, Igsaan said Taliep was too “private” a person and would not have wanted the newspaper headlines that such a move would bring.

“My brother is somebody that will always cover up. As we know, he always looked on the brighter side of things.”

Cross-examined by Najwa’s advocate, Klaus von Lieres und Wilkau, Igsaan conceded that divorce had been an option.

However, Taliep had said he was concerned what people would think of him.

“He was more worried about what people would say,” he said.

He said Najwa was admitted to a psychiatric clinic in Kenilworth for about three weeks after the stabbing.

Once when he went to visit her at the clinic, Najwa’s father, Suleiman Dirk, was there, and was asking a weeping Najwa what was wrong with her.
“Is it your husband, because there are lots of husbands? We can send you on a holiday,” Dirk had said.

At that point her brother closed the door, Igsaan said.

Igsaan also described how he was one of the first people to arrive on the scene of his brother’s murder on the night of December 16.

Igsaan, who lived near the Petersens’ home in Athlone, said he raced over, shooting a red robot, after getting a call from his sister that there had been a robbery and Taliep was shot.

He was let in by one of the family’s domestic workers, Koekie, who instructed him to go upstairs, saying that “meneer [Taliep] has been hurt”.

“When I got upstairs, I found my brother lying in a pool of blood,” he told the court.

“I saw my brother lying on his right cheek in the pool of blood. He was gagged ... a piece of cloth was stuffed in his mouth and it was [soaked] with blood.

“His hands were tied behind his back with wire.

“The feet were also bound with a piece of cloth and an electric cable, the normal two-phase cable that you use for any small electric appliances.

“By the look of things, I saw that he was gone.”

He and his son kicked down a bedroom door to free Najwa, who had been locked in.

“Accused number one [Najwa], to my surprise, did not even come out to inspect what had happened to her husband,” Igsaan said.

He said he stood back and watched as members of Najwa’s family and the police arrived.

When Suleiman Dirk arrived and spoke to Najwa “the first thing that came out of his mouth was ‘how much money did they take, what happened, how much money did they take?’”.

“She did reply to him a total, but I was not interested in the total,” Igsaan said.

Najwa also told her father she was hit on the head with a gun, but there were no bruises visible.

Igsaan said at that stage he was “really suspicious” about what was going on.

“The whole thing looked suspect to me, to be honest. It looked suspect. I turned around to my son and indicated to him they had my brother killed.”

Questioned by Von Lieres, he initially said by “they” he meant Najwa and whoever had helped her. Then said he meant members of Najwa’s family, the Dirks.—Sapa

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