Cape Town - A Mitchells Plain woman has been added as the fifth accused in the so-called Gumtree murder case in which 21-year-old Olwyn Cowley was killed while trying to sell his car.
Tania Majiet appeared alongside Jason Elias, Shawaal Staggie, Rameez Felix and parolee Soegbudien Abvajee during a pre-trial conference in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.
State advocate Jacomiena Swart told the court lawyers had been arranged for the accused, although Staggie’s legal representation still needed to be finalised.
Swart said the newly appointed lawyers only recently received copies of the case docket and needed to consult their clients to formulate their defence.
It is the State’s case the group acted in common purpose when they allegedly killed Cowley nine months ago.
If convicted, the men face a minimum sentence of life in prison unless they can show that substantial and compelling circumstances existed to justify a deviation.
Cowley had advertised his silver BMW 325ti on the classifieds website Gumtree.
Elias, Staggie and Felix contacted Cowley saying Elias was interested in buying the vehicle. They arranged to meet him at the Shell garage at Century City around 5pm on August 30 last year.
During the meeting, Cowley agreed that Elias and Abvajee could take the car for a test run. Elias drove the car. It’s not clear where Abvajee sat in the vehicle, but soon after leaving Century City, Cowley was shot and killed.
Elias and Abvajee returned to Century City, where the other two were waiting, and later decided to dump Cowley’s body along Baden Powell Drive.
After the murder the men allegedly drove to Majiet’s house in Highlands Village, Mitchells Plain. It has been established that Majiet is Elias’s girlfriend and the mother of his child.
At her house, Abvajee allegedly washed the bloodstained car and Elias allegedly handed Cowley’s cellphone to her.
Majiet later got rid of the cellphone. She has been charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact.
The men have been charged with premeditated murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
According to the post-mortem report, Cowley died after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds to his body.
The accused are back in court for another pre-trial hearing in two week’s time and are set to plead to the charges when the trial starts on May 27.