Cape Town’s “Bonnie and Clyde” – Craig and Bridget Smeddle – have each been sentenced to life in prison for the premeditated murder of a 71-year-old man in his Table View home.
Western Cape High Court Judge Judith Cloete sentenced the Smeddles to 15 years each for robbery with aggravating circumstances, life imprisonment for premeditated murder, seven years for fraud and forgery and two years for defeating the ends of justice. The sentences will run concurrently.
The couple was said to have stabbed Robert Symons, beat him over the head and strangled him with his bootlace in his home on July 2013.
They left him lying on his back for six to eight hours before they returned and dumped his half naked body face down in a bath of shallow water.
The State argued the couple closed the windows and bathroom door while they attempted to clean-up the evidence.
After killing him, they tried to convince his loved ones and neighbours of his well-being by sending messages of reassurance from his SIM card.
The Smeddles were out on bail while on trial in the Cape Town Regional Court following the murder of their drug dealer, when they murdered Symons.
In that unrelated case, the couple was found guilty of murdering their drug dealer, Edwin Obiano, on July 2011, with the State claiming they had strangled him with a garrotte wire – fashioned from a lighter on one side and a bottle opener on the other – and stabbed him.
For this crime they were sentenced to 15 years in jail.
There is a similarity between the modus operandi of the two crimes. Both victims were strangled and stabbed and both incidents took place in July, albeit in different years.
The couple denied involvement in the crimes. The State, in its heads of argument, claimed that on the day they were released on bail for Symons’s murder, they approached a State witness to coerce him to not identify them at a photo identity parade that was to be held.
The State argued the “cruel and callous conduct” was perpetrated against Symons who helped them financially.
Symons also named their six-year-old son as the main beneficiary of his will.
The couple admitted to the court they were heroin addicts who had been in and out of rehabilitation facilities.
Craig met his wife in 1995 when she was 13 years old. He lived temporarily in the UK before returning to Cape Town and married Bridget in 2011. He became addicted to drugs while in high school.
Although he managed to break the habit while in the UK, he started using drugs again on his return to Cape Town. – Cape Argus