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Sickening texts sent between ISIS-loving killers show the murderers boasting about a “good hunt” after the deaths of two British botanists in South Africa.
Dr Rachel Saunders, 63, and her husband Rod, 74, were brutally killed and their corpses were wrapped in their sleeping bags before being thrown off a bridge into a crocodile-infested river.
Aslam Del Vecchio, 41, his wife Bibi Fatima Patel, 31, and their lodger Mussa Ahmad Jackson, 37, have been charged with the murders, along with related charges of kidnapping and robbery.
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The trio, all allegedly affiliated with terror group ISIS, have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Prosecutors say the gang went on a £37,000 spending spree with the couple’s credit cards after stealing their Toyota Landcruiser as well as their camping equipment and mobile phones.
Durban High Court was told text messages between the trio with ISIS links describing them as a "good hunt" and discussing "killing the kuffar" saying they were in the forest.
The botanists, who ran their own mail order seed business from Cape Town, spent six months in the wilds every year collecting rare gladioli seeds.
Prosecutors say the couple were tracked by Del Vecchio, Patel and Jackson, who prutally murdered them and fed their bodies to wild crocodiles.
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A pathologist – who had to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals – told the court that Rachel’s body was “one of the most extreme cases” for which he had ever performed an autopsy in his whole career.
He said that she died from strangulation and stab wounds and blunt trauma injuries then referred to the subsequent mutilation by crocodiles that left her unrecognisable.
He testified: "I performed the autopsy and I was not sure as to whether it was a male or a female body given its advanced decomposed state and due to the crocodile injuries.
“She had been dismembered. There were missing limbs – the right arm and a leg were not there. The groin was totally eaten out and there was no breast tissue.
"There was no way to determine the gender. I also saw fractures on the skull, spine, neck, and ribcage. There was no hair. There were also multiple stab wounds.
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South Africa’s elite “Hawks” police squad found a link between the cell phones belonging to Mr and Mrs Saunders and the cell phones of the suspects and arrested the three accused and charged them with murder.
Investigators also found ISIS pamphlets and flags at the trio’s home.
The trial continues.
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