Entertainer Taliep Petersen died only after two previous murder bids,
alledgedly planned by his wife Najwa, went awry, Cape Town's Wynberg Regional Court
heard on Tuesday.
The claim emerged during a bail application by Najwa and Abdoer
Emjedi, one of her three co-accused, in a courtoom packed to the aisles
with some 150 family members and members of the public.
The court also heard from a psychiatrist that Najwa suffered from a
range of mental illnesses, that she heard imaginary voices telling her
to harm herself, and that she stabbed Taliep in the neck last year only
hours after being discharged from psychiatric treatment.
Prosecutor Shireen Riley told the court that the State would allege
that Emjedi was approached by a former employee of Dirk Fruit Namibia,
a business at one stage co-owned by Najwa and her brother, to "get
people" to kill Petersen.
She said that on December 14 last year, when Taliep returned from a
trip to London, Emjedi was supposed to get people to hijack the vehicle
in which the Petersens were travelling, kill Taliep and leave Najwa
When that did not materialise, Najwa gave instructions he should be
killed when he came out of the Luxurama theatre the following day.
That also came to nothing, and instead Emjedi arranged for the
remaining two accused, Waheed Hassen and Jefferson Snyders, to go to
the Petersen house in Athlone on the 16th, where Najwa let them in, and
they killed Taliep.
Emjedi, who took the witness stand to testify in support of his bail
application, said in reaction to Riley's version of events: "No
He admitted that though he did not have any previous convictions, he
was in jail previously for 15 months awaiting trial in a hijacking case, which
was eventually struck from the roll.
Najwa, 45, wearing darkened glasses and a brown patterned Louis
Vuitton scarf, did not testify in her bail bid.
Major depressive disorder
Instead her advocate Craig Webster handed in an affidavit in which
she said she was in a precarious state off health, and had been
diagnosed with "chronic severe major depressive disorder with psychotic
features", a severe panic disorder coupled with agoraphobia, or fear of
open spaces, an anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and
Since the beginning of 2004 she had been admitted to the Gatesville
Medical Centre or the Crescent Clinic, a specialist psychiatric clinic,
25 times, and towards the end of last year underwent eight courses of
electric shock therapy.
"I find myself in severe psychological difficulty since my arrest,"
"My incarceration in the cells is unbearable.... I don't believe
that I will be able to cope if it is ordered that I remain in custody
until a trial is finalised."
Psychiatrist Barry Fortuin, who treated Najwa from March 2003 to May
last year, said she heard voices telling her to harm herself, and had
repeatedly tried to commit suicide.
After one attempt, a pill overdose, she had to be resuscitated at
Groote Schuur Hospital.
Held in Pollsmoor
He said he had visited Pollsmoor prison, where she was likely to be
held if denied bail, and believed it could not provide the sort of
intense and ongoing psychiatric care she required.
"This kind of environment is completely unacceptable for a mentally
ill patient," he said.
He said he was aware only from media reports of an incident
described by Riley in which Najwa allegedly stabbed Taliep in the neck
on April 13 last year, hours after she was released from
Taliep was rushed to Gatesville for treatment, while Najwa was
admitted to the Crescent Clinic the following day.
Fortuin said, however, that people in Najwa's condition were more
likely to harm themselves than others.
The other two accused, Hassen and Snyders, are not applying for
They were remanded to August 17; the bail application continues on
Wednesday. – (Sapa)
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