Independent Online

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Inquest resumes in case of Gauteng mom who burnt with her four kids

The inquest into the deaths of a Johannesburg mother and her four children resumed in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court last Wednesday.

The inquest into the deaths of a Johannesburg mother and her four children resumed in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court last Wednesday.

Published Feb 18, 2021

Share

Durban - The inquest into the deaths of a Johannesburg mother and her four children resumed in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court last Wednesday.

In 2011, a fire started at the Deedat household in Ormonde, south of Johannesburg. Suraya Deedat, 31, and her children, aged between six-months-old and four, died.

Story continues below Advertisement

Deedat's husband Naeem was the sole survivor.

Naeem was in the bathroom during the fire, while Deedat and the children were found on their backs in another room. The inquest aims to determine if he was involved in the fire which resulted in the deaths.

Gary Kemp, a fire expert from Phoenix Fire Investigation, testified on behalf of Deedat's legal team.

He said, to date, there was no information regarding any items found in the house that was tested for having an accelerant (a substance used to aid the spread of fire). Kemp also said there was no trace of any accelerant used to start the fire.

He said even an unaccelerated fire could develop as fast as an accelerated fire.

“It can take between three to five minutes for an unaccelerated fire to turn into an accelerated fire.”

Story continues below Advertisement

During cross-examination, advocate Gary Nel, who represents Deedat's family, asked Kemp if the door between the room that Deedat and her children were in, and the shower where Naeem was, could have been closed. Kemp responded that it could have been.

Kemp said he had never investigated a fire in which five bodies were found on their backs in a burnt-down house. He said it was possible that somebody could have carried their bodies and left them in that position.

On Monday, Anina Burger, a private fire expert, testified that a heater could have caused the fire.

Story continues below Advertisement

She was sent to the home five days after the fire by an insurance company to investigate the damage and if there was any foul play. Burger showed pictures to the court of the burnt heater in the room, where the fire was believed to have started.

She also showed pictures of the burnt doors of the rooms with the keys still inside the handles. It showed that the keys were not touched. Burger said the door between the room and the bathroom was opened as the door frame was burnt and part of the door had soot on it. This indicated that it was open.

Burger was cross-examined on Tuesday.

Story continues below Advertisement

The Post

Related Topics:

Crime and courts

Share