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15 Apr 2008 18:20
Photographs of Taliep Petersen’s bloody corpse made him sick to his stomach, the man who claims he arranged the killing told the Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Fahiem Hendricks, who has been warned as an accomplice, was on the stand for the second day in the trial of Taliep’s wife, Najwa, as well as Abdoer Emjedi, Waheed Hassen and Jefferson Snyders.
Hendricks, wearing a bulletproof vest under his tracksuit top, delivered his testimony sitting with his back to the accused and the advocates who cross-examined him.
Questioned by Roelf Konstabel, for Snyders, on why he decided to admit his involvement after denying it in two earlier statements to police, Hendricks said he had not been pressed by investigators.
“It was just normal questioning,” he said.
“They showed me photos of the incident and showed me everything that happened.
He said he decided to make the statement—in which he described how Najwa had asked him to arrange a “hit” on Taliep—in full knowledge that he could go to jail for a long time. “The [witness protection] programme I’m on is very much worse than jail,” he added.
Earlier, Najwa’s advocate, Klaus von Lieres, revealed in his cross-examination of Hendricks that his client was going to testify in her own defence.
He told Hendricks that his client would testify that she lent him R20 000 on two occasions, and R10 000 on a third, shortly before Taliep’s death. She would say he had been behind on repayments of the R10 000, and this was why she was phoning him at the time.
She would also testify, Von Lieres said, that when he came to her house to make a repayment on the R10 000, she gave him four cut diamonds to sell for a total of R250 000, promising him a commission of R10 000.
“There was no diamond transaction. That was also a lie,” replied Hendricks.
Najwa, Von Lieres, said, would deny “totally and completely” that she had asked Hendricks to arrange the killing.
“That’s not true,” Hendricks replied.
He told the court on Monday that to provide a cover for the string of calls between himself and Najwa in the run-up to the killing, he initially told police that they were having an affair. At her prompting, he later changed the story to say they were involved in an illicit diamond transaction.
In one of the “false” statements he made to police, handed in on Tuesday as an exhibit, he said that on the day of the murder, December 16 2006, she phoned him continually saying she was alone at her house and lonely.
“I told her I was busy and could not go to her,” Hendricks said in the statement. “I was intimate with Najwa on two previous occasions in her house at 101 Grasmere Street Athlone, while the deceased Taliep Petersen was in London. We only kissed and did not have sexual relations.”
He told the court that when Najwa initially asked him to find hit men, he was “a bit shocked”.
“I said, excuse me, she was talking shit to me, because I don’t know about such things.”
It was only after she made repeated follow-up calls that he asked Emjedi whether he could arrange hit men.
He denied a suggestion that he was implicating Emjedi because he was jealous of Emjedi’s relationship with his wife.—Sapa
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