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Updated October 5th, 2022 at 06:29 IST

UK couple murdered & bodies thrown to crocodiles in South Africa, here's what happened

After recording for the show, Rod and Rachel Saunders told an employee that they were travelling to the Ngoye Forest Reserve when they apparently vanished.

Apoorva Kaul
UK
Image:Twitter/@plyons45 | Image:self
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A British couple has been murdered and their bodies packed into a sleeping bag and thrown to crocodiles by a gang in South Africa, a court has heard. Botanists Rod Saunders, 74 along with their wife Rachel, 63, spent six months a year trekking through mountains and forests in search of wildflower seed stock required for their mail-order business, The Sun reported. The elderly couple was attacked while they were looking out for rare seeds in a remote nature reserve in South Africa. 

Days before their murder, Rod Saunders along with Rachel recorded for BBC's Gardeners World. The couple were travelling from their home in Cape Town to meet BBC staff in the Drakensberg Mountains in Kwa-Zulu Natal in February 2018. The pair were filmed while they were trying to find rare gladioli. After recording for the show, Rod and Rachel Saunders told an employee at their company that they were travelling to the Ngoye Forest Reserve when they apparently vanished. According to the prosecutors, the couple was snatched from the camp and beaten to death, as per the news report. Their bodies were thrown off a bridge into the crocodile-infested River Tugela. The couple's part-eaten and badly decomposed bodies were found by fishermen days after they were killed. However, it was after a few months, the police was able to identify the bodies after DNA tests as they were unrecognisable. 

Police arrests four suspects 

Police had launched a full-scale search and found that money was taken from their account. Police have arrested four suspects, three of whom have been accused of kidnap, murder, robbery and theft, as per The Sun report. Sayefundeen Aslam Del Vecchio, his wife Bibi Fatima Patel and their lodger at the time Mussa Ahmad Jackson have denied charges at Durban High Court. WhatsApp messages recovered from the phones of all three suspects have sparked fears that they were members of ISIS. The fourth suspect who was found to have bought the mobile phones of the couple and was not involved in the murder was given a suspended sentence in exchange for vital evidence. As per the news report, the court was informed, "It was established that the defendants were drawing money from various ATMs which amounted to theft of 734,000 rands" (Rs33,88,269.99) and theft of their Land Cruiser and camping equipment.  

Image:Twitter/@plyons45

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Published October 5th, 2022 at 06:29 IST

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