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British couple allegedly thrown to crocodiles by 3 with ISIS links

A crocodile. (Unsplash)
April 20, 2023

Three people with alleged ISIS links have been accused in court of beating a British couple to death, throwing their bodies to crocodiles, and stealing their credit cards to spend tens of thousands of pounds.

Botanists Rod Saunders, 74, and his wife, Rachel, 63, were allegedly ambushed and killed in the mountains of South Africa after filming an episode of the BBC show “Gardeners’ World” in February 2018, the Daily Mail reported.

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Three people – Sayfudeen Aslam Del Vecchio, 41; his 30-year-old wife, Bibi Fatima Patel; and Malawian Mussa Ahmed Jackson, 35 – are now accused of killing them, putting their bodies in sleeping bags, and tossing them off a bridge into a river populated with crocodiles.

The couple’s decomposed and partially-eaten bodies were recovered from the Tugela River in the Ngoye Forest, the Daily Mail reported, but it took DNA tests months later to identify them.

“The damage to the bodies suggest that something could have fed on them,” a doctor reportedly said in South African court. “For example, a crocodile, due to the lost tissue on the arms, neck, and chest. Once the bodies were pushed into the banks, then dogs and rats could have fed on it.”

Five days after the Saunders were last heard from, the three defendants allegedly drew £37,000 out of ATMs with their stolen credit cards.

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ISIS pamphlets and flags were allegedly found at the defendants’ home, along with phone messages saying a couple was in the forest who would be a “good hunt.” 

Another message allegedly referenced “killing the kuffar,” a word that refers to non-Muslims.

After his arrest, Jackson reportedly said Patel woke him at their home on Feb. 10, 2018, to help dispose of the bodies. 

Del Vecchio drove the Saunders’ Toyota Land Cruiser to a bridge on the Tugela River with the other two defendants following behind, Jackson reportedly said. 

At the bridge, “they helped him remove the sleeping bags from the back and threw them with human bodies inside into the river,” it was alleged in court.