Former jockey given life term for brutal murder

Janet Scott

Janet Scott

Published Sep 29, 2020


Durban - “There are no winners and losers, everybody lost.”

These were the words of Rob Scott, brother of Janet Scott, 54, after former jockey Graham Gregorowski, 35, was found guilty in the Durban High Court of her premeditated murder and sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday.

Scott was beaten to death in the Shongweni cottage she had shared with Gregorowski on October 14, 2016.

“He got the best he could get in the judgment. Fortunately his mother can still pick up the phone and talk to him. I will never be able to talk to my sister again,” Rob Scott said.

Gregorowski had pleaded not guilty to Scott’s murder, claiming her death had been an “accident”.

In delivering judgment, Judge Shyam Gyanda said the murder occurred after Scott returned home from spending time with her daughter and found a younger woman named Melissa in the cottage.

Scott was found in their cottage the next day. She had been brutally beaten and her ribs had been broken, according to the forensic pathologist’s report.

The cause of death was the application of blunt force for a period of 30 minutes.

Gregorowski, who had attempted to hang himself, was found lying on the bed with cuts to his wrists.

The judge said the court had been told how Gregorowski had sent a WhatsApp message to Scott prior to her death.

“The accused was insistent that the deceased must not come to the cottage, and that if she came to the cottage she would ‘be in mourning’, and when asked what did he mean by that he said he made a mistake. He already had in his mind what he was going to do to the deceased,” Judge Gyanda said.

“That these injuries could only have been inflicted on the deceased by the accused in their time together cannot be gainsaid,” Judge Gyanda said.

He rejected Gregorowski’s version that Scott’s death had been an accident after he pushed her and later tried to resuscitate her.

In mitigation of sentencing, Gregorowski’s advocate, Marshall Zulu, had argued that he had two minor children and that his girlfriend was expecting his third child. He also said he had no previous record, was still young and could be rehabilitated.

Senior State Advocate Krishen Shah argued for the “harshest punishment” for Gregorowski, saying Scott had only shown him love and did not deserve to be murdered. He cited a 2012 SA Human Sciences Research Council report that indicated that in 50% of murder cases of women, the perpetrator had been their partner.

Handing down the life sentence, Judge Gyanda said it was unfortunate that Gregorowski’s children would not have a father present.

“When people commit heinous crimes like these innocent people suffer, your mother will suffer, your girlfriend will suffer, all because you could not control your emotions, because you had to show you could beat this woman and get her to bend to your will at any time and any how,” Judge Gyanda said.

He added that the number of murders due to gender-based violence had “probably risen dramatically” following the 2012 report because nothing had been done about it. “It has to stop, and it has to stop when every court takes this case very seriously.”

Following judgment and sentencing, Rob Scott praised the investigating officer at Hillcrest Police station, Shah and social worker Mzobe Zolile.

Janet Scott’s daughter, Stacey Mitchell, said her mother had been robbed of witnessing her wedding and being a grandmother.

“It’s not going to bring her back, but I am glad she can now rest peacefully and we can move forward and remember her for the soft, kind person she was. All she wanted to be was a ‘nana’, and she never got that. Our lives will never be the same.”

Gregorowski was denied leave to appeal.

The Mercury

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