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Mum and dad nailed their daughter's killer

08 April 2015 - 02:33 By Philani Nombembe

Yunus and Sara Asmall refused to believe that their daughter had killed herself. So they decided to take the law into their own hands and hired a private prosecutor and experts in ballistics and forensic investigation to look into the 2005 death of their child, Rochelle Naidoo.Nine years later their perseverance paid off when Naidoo's boyfriend at the time of her death, Faizel Hendricks, was convicted of her murder. It is believed to be the first time a private prosecution has resulted in a conviction in South Africa.Sentencing got under way in the Cape Town Regional Court yesterday.In 2005, Naidoo and Hendriks, 27, lived in a flat in Cape Town. On June 28 she was found dead with a single gunshot wound to the head, fired through the mouth.Hendricks was arrested but the charges were withdrawn after an inconclusive inquest.Naidoo's family applied to have Hendricks prosecuted privately.Throughout the investigation Hendricks maintained that Naidoo had committed suicide but the court convicted him of murder in July. Magistrate Michelle Adams said it was he who had pulled the trigger.Yunus said yesterday that the family had spent a "fortune" for justice. The trial had been in progress since 2010. He described the trauma his family had experienced as "immeasurable"."It has cost me a lot of money; I even got stress-related cancer," said Yunus."But we are happy with the verdict. We have given him a fair trial."Sara shared his sentiments: "For the past 10 years I have neglected my family because every month I had to be in Cape Town. We live in Pietermaritzburg and we had to wake up at 3am today in order to catch a flight to Cape Town."She said she knew her daughter would not have committed suicide."A mother's instincts are always right."Naidoo was running the family's clothing shop in Cape Town at the time of her death. She had been in a relationship with Hendricks since 2003.Legal expert William da Grass said: "This is the first [conviction obtained by private prosecution] that I am aware of."The implication is that the director of public prosecutions has to be careful in making decisions not to prosecute."Argument as to mitigating and aggravating factors to be considered in sentencing continues today with testimony from probation officer Gopolang Molefe...

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