Najwa gets a grilling

Reporter: Fatima Schroeder

CAPE ARGUS

PETERSEN DENIES THAT TALIEP HEADBUTTED HER AS SHE TRIED TO HUM HIM

Najwa Petersen denied in the Cape High Court today that her husband Taliep had hed-butted her away when she tried to embrace him on the night of his murder. She also denied taht she had watched as an attacker kicked him to the floor and assaulted him before he was shot dead. In another eventful morning, it was put to Petersen that moments before her husband was killed, she had said to the hitmen: “Don’t do it (the murder) upstairs. Do it downstairs.” She was being cross-examined by defence counsel Patrick Scott, who represents one of the self-confessed intruders, Waheed Hassan. Scott put Hassan’s version of events on the night of the killing to Petersen and asked her to comment. But she rejected the allegations. She said she had hugged her husband at one stage but denied that he had head-butted her. She also denied that she had seen him being assaulted. She said that she had seen blood on his face but didn’t know what caused him to start bleeding. The details of the murder just seemed too much for Taliep’s sister, Taghmeeda Johnson, who collapsed in the public gallery as she tried to leave the courtroom. Some of her relatives left to check on her and then took her home. The court heard that Najwa had spoken to the hitmen in Afrikaans. Hassan said he had peered into the bag of money Najwa had given him and commented: “This is not what Fahiem and I discussed.” Petersen allegedly responded: “Don’t worry, we will sort it out tomorrow.” Earlier in the trial, Hassan testified that Hendricks had asked him to carry out the attack according to Petersen’s instructions and that she would pay R100000 for it. He said he was in regular telephonic contact with Hendricks and he had been told that the front door would be left unlocked so that he could enter the premises. He was told to look for Taliep in the studio. Scott put in to Petersen that Taliep was in the TV room and that he started to invoke Allah’s name when he saw his attackers. Petersen said she did not hear any of this and that she was asleep in her bedroom. She woke up when one of the intruders pressed a gun to her head and demanded money. Petersen told the court yesterday that she had no part in the attack and that she begged the men not to hurt her husband. But Hassan testified earlier that Petersen had helped the attackers to tie up her husband. He said she had “nagged” and persisted that her husband should be killed that night. Petersen, Hassan and the other co-accused, Abdoer Raasiet Emjedi and Jefferson Snyders, have pleaded not guilty to murder and to robbery with aggravating circumstances, as well as to the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. The State alleges Petersen asked Hendricks to recruit hitmen to kill her husband, offering to pay them R100000. Hendricks, who has turned State witness, says he approached Emjedi, who allegedly recommended Hassan and Snyders to carry out the killing. Yesterday Najwa denied having written a cash cheque for R100000 three days after the murder to pay Fahiem Hendricks for the hit. The cheque, Petersen said before Justice Siraj Desai yesterday, was for her late father, Sulaiman Dirk, who had bought and sold cars. She also said her numerous cellphone calls to Hendricks were about a R240000 payment for polished diamonds she had given him to sell on her behalf. Her testimony continues.