Three men and a woman accused of brutally murdering pensioner Martha Samuels, 77, in her Eastridge home, made their second appearance in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court where their bail application was denied on Monday March 27.
They appeared for the first time on Wednesday March 1.
Close to 100 people from various organisations picketed along First Avenue in Beacon Valley, across the way from the court, calling for bail to be denied (“Residents urged to oppose bail for murder accused,” Plainsman, February 22).
Her son, Gregory Samuels commended organisations such as the Place of Restoration, the Mitchell’s Plain Network Opposing Abuse, the New Lentegeur Social Club and the Mitchell’s Plain Backyarders’ Association for their unwavering support.
The victim affectionately called “Ma Martha” was found strangled to death in her home on September 2 last year.
Mr Samuels said the same people whom his mother would give food to were the ones who had taken her life.
“At the weekend, we handed over a petition consisting of close to 3 600 signatures to the investigating officer in a bid to oppose the bail application of the three suspects,” he said.
Recalling the day he received the news of his mother’s untimely death, Mr Samuels said: “A neighbour found my mom and my son called me to tell me the news. At first the police didn’t realise she was murdered but they later discovered she died as a result of a blunt force trauma to her head and they also found that she had been strangled.”
He told the Plainsman he hoped the perpetrators got the sentence they deserved. “ I trust that God will give them their due punishment when the time is right. I am a Christian. I hope they get a hefty sentence and that they eventually repent for their sins.”
Elizabeth Jacobs, 72, of Beacon Valley fondly remembered Ms Samuels, saying: “She was friendly, humble and had a meek temperament. She wouldn’t hurt a fly. We used to attend the same church, Christ the Mediator.”
Another church-goer, Rosaline Maxz, 67, said she was heartbroken and shocked when Ms Samuels’ death was announced at church.
Terence Hosking of the Mitchell’s Plain Housing Committee joined the picket and expressed his dissatisfaction with the justice system. “These criminals stab, rob and murder people and they are easily given bail. They are back on the streets in no time. I believe there should be an end to the night court because criminals are getting off too easily.”
Mr Hosking, who lives in Tafelsig, said after 9pm the area turned into a war zone. “Tafelsig is crime infested. People are robbed and killed on a regular basis and criminals just walk free due to the court either not having enough evidence to prosecute them or dockets going missing.”
Family members were relieved when the case was postponed until Wednesday April 19. “The court appearance started late and it lasted for 15 minutes in Court 4. The petition was handed over to the investigating officer and it was not included in the court documents. The case was postponed to gather more evidence and to iron out the suspects’ legal representation.”
The three men, aged between 23 and 30, and a woman, aged 27, were arrested after it was found that Ms Samuels’ house had been broken into.
Her son-in-law Lesley Damons was pleased that the suspects would stay behind bars for now. “As long as they are in custody we are happy. It gives us more time to create awareness and gather support for our plea for justice.”