93-year-old’s killing another reminder of SA’s femicide plague

Protesters outside the Bellville Magistrate’s Court, on Thursday August 19, opposed bail for the man accused of killing Cynthia Doubell, 93.

Aneeqah Doubells had planned to spend the day with her grandmother on the first day of Women’s Month, but when she went to her Bellville South home that morning to fetch her, she found her beaten to death.

Ms Doubell has joined protesters outside the Bellville Magistrate’s Court to demand justice for 93-year-old Cynthia Doubell and that bail be denied for Keegan Samuels, 25, the man charged with her murder.

Mr Samuels first appeared on Thursday August 12 and again on Thursday August 19. The case has now been postponed to Wednesday October 20, for further investigation, and the accused has dropped his bail application, according to National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila.

Ms Doubell’s body was found in the bedroom of her Dammert Street home, in Bellville South, on Sunday morning August 1.

“We are currently investigating a murder, but the motive for the attack is still unknown,” said Bellville South police spokesman Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi.

Police believe Ms Doubell was killed at 11.15pm the previous night.

Ms Doubell said her grandmother had given Mr Samuels’s mother a place to stay at her home.

Recalling the morning when she had learnt of her grandmother’s death, she said: “I was on my way to come and fetch her to spend the day with me, and then when I saw the ambulance standing outside, I thought, ’This is weird?’ I checked my phone, and my auntie said the neighbour just called to say Keegan fought with my granny, so I thought, she must be hurt.

“Then the neighbour that called my auntie came up behind me and touched my shoulder, and I said to her, ’Where’s Omie?’. I then walked in and saw her laying with her feet off the bed with the blanket covering her.

“When I opened up the blanket, I saw her head was swollen. She was badly bruised in her face.”

Her brother’s 10-year-old son had been in the house at the time of the killing, she said.

She claimed Mr Samuels and her grandmother had clashed in the past.

“I also spoke and confronted him on a previous occasion when a neighbour called me to say he was being rude with my grandmother,” she said.

Caroline Peters, director of the Callas Foundation, supported the call to oppose bail for Mr Samuels and said that Ms Doubell’s death was yet another reminder of the country’s high femicide rate.

“We chose to highlight this case and show our support for the Doubell family as it especially took place on the first day of our Women’s Month. There are so many femicides that we know of. Every three hours, a woman is murdered in this country,” she said.

Kevin Jones, deputy director of the province’s Forensic Pathology Service, said he could not discuss the results of the autopsy performed on Ms Doubell as they were forwarded confidentially to the investigating police officer in terms of the Inquests Act.