ISIS.hree persons, who allegedly fed a British botanist couple’s bodies to crocodiles in South Africa have been accused of having suspected links to
This was after detectives reportedly found ISIS pamphlets and a flag at the accused’s house at the time of the arrest after Rod Saunders and his wife Rachel were brutally murdered and fed to crocodiles in South Africa.
Rod Saunders, 74 and his wife Rachel, 63, were brutally killed four years ago as they searched for wild seeds in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province for online business.
The internationally renowned botanists were interviewed by BBC TV presenter, Nick Bailey, for an episode of Gardeners’ World as they searched the Drakensberg Mountain region for rare Gladioli flower seeds.
A selfie taken by Mr Bailey and posted on his Twitter account as well as a photo taken by producer Robin Matthews during filming were believed to be the last photos taken of them alive.
Court proceedings began this week against their alleged killers, Sayfudeen Aslam Del Vecchio, 39, his partner Fatima Bibi Patel, 28, and their lodger at the time Mussa Ahmad Jackson, 35.
The trio denies all charges of kidnapping, robbery, murder and theft.
Some say Mr Del Vecchio and his Ms Patel, the daughter of a Muslim cleric, have links to ISIS.
They were previously charged with contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act, but this has since been dropped.
Del Vecchio and Mussa were transferred to Ebongweni maximum security prison in Kokstad in 2020 after prison officials said they had uncovered a plot that would jeopardize Westville prison where they were initially held.
WhatsApp communications were discovered between the accused pair.
They allegedly said they were planning to “kill the kuffar and abduct their alias, to destroy infrastructure and to put fear in the heart of the kuffar.”
Kuffar means disbeliever or infidel in Arabic.
They also described the couple as “prey” who were ripe for a good “hunt”.
TheNewsGuru.com reports that when they were initially charged with terrorism, the British Foreign Office issued a warning about a possible terrorism threat in South Africa.
Detectives reportedly found Islamic State pamphlets and a flag at the accused’s house at the time of the arrest.
They were also allegedly found to be affiliated with Farhad Hoomer, who is the alleged mastermind behind the 2018 Verulam mosque attack.
“We have been coming to Drakensberg since we were 16 and I’ve always had a passion for high-altitude grassland flora,” Mr Saunders said to BBC Gardeners’ World presenter Nick Bailey just days before his tragic death.
They last made contact with employees of their company on February 8, saying they planned to camp in Ngoye Forest Reserve.
It was gathered that they spent one night in the forest before being kidnapped, then at some point between February 10 and 15, were beaten to death before being thrown into the Tugela river, the court has been told.
The alleged killers used the couple’s Land Cruiser and bank cards to draw out £37,000 in cash.
Blood from Ms Saunders was found in the vehicle’s boot.
Lawyers for the accused say police have exaggerated the links to the Islamic State.
The trial was adjourned yesterday until October 25.