Couple found guilty of murder

Bridget Smeddle was convicted of murdering Robert Symons.

An Observatory couple accused of killing a Table View resident two years ago claimed they were innocent, and had been framed by a group of Nigerian drug dealers hellbent on revenge.

But last week their claims were dismissed, and the pair, Craig Smeddle, 34, and his wife Bridget Smeddle, 33, were convicted in the Western Cape High Court of murdering Robert Symons so they could sell the 71-year-old’s belongings.

They are expected to be sentenced later this month. The state has asked that the couple, who have a history of heroin addiction, be handed life terms in jail.

Mr Symons’s killing is not the only murder of which the couple have been found guilty; last August the Smeddles were convicted of murdering Edwin Obiano, a drug dealer from Observatory, in July 2011.

For this crime they were sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The judgment in the Symons case, handed down on Tuesday June 28 by Judge Judith Cloete, said the couple had denied all involvement in his killing.

They claimed they were targeted because of their links to the Obiano murder.

“They maintained they had been set up by a group of Nigerian drug dealers in revenge because the dealers wrongly believed they were responsible for the death of one of their colleagues (Obiano) during 2011,” it said.

According to the judgment, Craig Smeddle met his wife in 1995 when 13 years old. Smeddle lived temporarily in the UK before returning to Cape Town and married Bridget in 2011.

The judgment said he became addicted to drugs while in high school. Although he managed to break the habit when he was in the UK, Smeddle started using drugs again on return to Cape Town.

He had got drugs from Obiano. “After Obiano’s death various dealers began making idle threats to him, which became increasingly more serious and persistent,” the judgment, referring to the defence’s case, said. The judgment said Smeddle had testified that as long as he continued obeying the drug dealers, they would leave him and his family alone.

“As soon as we started cleaning up and stopped contacting them, someone would come out of the woodwork and extort money,” he testified.

Mr Symons was strangled, stabbed and hit over the head in his flat in July 2014. Smeddle and his wife had been his friends but were convicted of killing him, hiding his body and selling his belongings.

The judgment found Smeddle’s claims of being framed were false. – Weekend Argus