Shakoor Roberts freed after being found not guilty. FILE
Shakoor Roberts freed after being found not guilty. FILE

Man accused of strangling his mother and hiding her body inside a garbage bin is freed with not guilty verdict

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Jul 24, 2021

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Cape Town - Shakoor Roberts, who has been on trial for six years for the alleged murder of his mother, Gafsa Roberts, has been found not guilty at the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court due to a lack of evidence.

The mammoth trial came to a disappointing end for the family of the 61-year-old whose decomposed body was discovered hidden inside a garbage bin in March, 2015, outside of her home in Tafelsig.

Despite audio recordings of an alleged confession, which was deemed inaudible including several witness statements from family and friends who told of how Gafsa had feared for her life, Roberts walked out of the courthouse after being found not guilty yesterday.

Magistrate Mary Jacwu said the State did bring enough evidence to prove their case such as proper medical reports, audio transcribing and reliable witnesses.

Gafsa Roberts, 61, was strangled and her body was stuffed in a wheelie bin. Murder-accused Shakoor Roberts, her son was freed

Roberts had been incarcerated at Pollsmoor Prison for the past six years. He left the courthouse accompanied by family members.

The magistrate ruled that: “The investigating officer was to have sent the cellphone. That the State prosecutor obtained the recording but did not follow procedure. The recording was jumbled and did not make sense after translation. The State prosecutor was to have followed up on certain aspects such as the transcribing of the recording but failed to do so.”

The interdict taken out in 2015, had incorrect dates by the then magistrate and was deemed to be unreliable.

The accused denied speaking to the relatives who made the alleged cellphone audio recording.

Witness statements such as Rushaana Adams (daughter of the deceased) and her husband and others were unreliable.

The State had to get a proper doctor’s report which would have given full impact of her strangulation.

Roberts’ cousin, Jamia Daniels, expressed outrage by the court’s findings. “The State prosecutor who presided over the case wasn’t even present today.

“The audio recordings of the confession were never sent by the State or the detective for transcribing.

“We are so shocked. The State let us down as a family, the State failed us. My dad is taking it bad. The cause of death was strangulation. They could have proved there was abuse.”

Last month, Jacwu aired various irregularities of the case while Roberts’ defence claimed the motive for the murder by the killer was a fight over the house which belonged to Gafsa.

The house was sold shortly after the murder.

Robert’s sister, Adams, who fought to keep her brother behind bars previously told the Weekend Argus he had damaged the house by stealing electrical writing to plumbing and destroyed various parts of the house.

Adams was not available for comment.

Roberts, who is an apparently schizophrenic, has been deemed mentally fit to stand trial.

Relatives became worried and reported the grandmother missing while Roberts claimed his mother had left home for Hanover Park to visit her daughter (Adams).

But she had never arrived at the destination.

Neighbours became suspicious of a foul smell coming from out of the refuse bin outside of Gafsa’s home.

They found Gafsa's body, which had already been washed after death, inside the bin.

The body of Gafsa Roberts removed from the refuse bin. Crime scene. FILE

The State pathologists ruled Gafsa had been throttled to death.

She was also hit with a blunt object which caused a head injury.

The State revealed they were in possession of two exhibits which could mean the final nail in the coffin for Roberts.

In the interdict Gafsa claimed she feared for her life and that Roberts had allegedly nearly broken her arm and that she had been emotionally abused by him.

Weekend Argus

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