Rodney Saunders and his wife Rachel, 63, went missing in February 2018 in the Vryheid area. File picture

Durban - A Durban couple charged for the murder of a British botanist couple made a brief appearance in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. 

Rodney Saunders and his wife Rachel, 63, went missing in February 2018 in the Vryheid area. 

Rodney's body was found a month later after the disappearance. His wife was found in June 2018. 

Shortly after their murder Fatima Patel, 27, and Sayefudeen Del Vecchio, 38, who are married in terms of Islamic rights, were arrested. 

The couple and 36-year-old Malawian Ahmad Mussa were charged with kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, theft, contravention of the country’s terrorism act and two counts of murder.  Patel and Del Vecchio are believed to have links to Isis.

The couple were denied bail after court ruled that there was strong prima facie evidence against them.

Mussa abandoned his bail application and his trial was separated. 

He told authorities in a statement that Patel woke him to help Del Vecchio dump the bodies of the couple off the Tugela River Bridge.

The matter was adjourned to May 14 for further investigation NPA confirmed. 

Daily News