Friday, 14 November 2008

Evidence links man to double murder

Fatima Schroeder

November 12 2008 at 03:41PM

A 28-year-old Manenberg man has been convicted for the murder of a Plumstead mother and daughter and of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Joan Mark, 85, and Jean Mark, 55, were attacked in their Northview flat on November 16, 2005.

Jean died instantly and her mother died in hospital a few days after the attack. Both had severe head injuries.

Riaaz Isaacs was arrested for the murders two days later.

Tests were done on the shoes he was wearing at the time of his arrest and their soles matched the bloody shoe prints found at the crime scene.

In addition, he was found in possession of other shoes and bloody socks. The blood on the socks matched the blood of both the Marks women.

Police also investigated the women's stolen cellphones and discovered that a different sim card had been placed in one of them. Calls made from that sim card were traced to Isaacs's mother.

Further calls were made to a house in Grassy Park and a witness confirmed that these were made by Isaacs.

Isaacs did not dispute the evidence, but claimed that as a hawker on Main Road, Claremont, he had bought the cellphone and shoes from someone he knew only as Petta.

He said Petta also gave him a cap, wallet and socks.

In delivering judgment, Judge Patricia Goliath said there were not many issues in dispute between the State's case and that of the defence and that the evidence was largely circumstantial.

Goliath said the police's starting point in investigating the murders was to trace the person who received calls from the stolen cellphone. Isaacs's mother admitted her son had contacted her.

The evidence of the shoes and bloodstained socks found in Isaacs's possession was "highly incriminating".

Isaacs's shoe prints were also linked to the prints at the crime scene, and the cellphone was traced to him.

Goliath referred to Isaacs's version that he had bought the cellphone, shoes and socks, but said that he only revealed this for the first time during his bail application and questioned why he had not told the police about this, especially since he did not know Petta and had no reason to try to protect him.

The judge said that it was highly unlikely that Isaacs would have been content to spend three years behind bars awaiting trial for a murder which someone else had committed.

She found Petta was a fabrication and said all the evidence pointed towards Isaacs.

He will be sentenced on Thursday.

This article was originally published on page 8 of Cape Argus on November 12, 2008


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