Former KZN jockey found guilty of girlfriend's murder
Former jockey Graham Gregorowski has been found guilty of the premeditated murder of his live-in girlfriend Janet Scott in the cottage they shared in Shongweni in October 2016 and is now facing life imprisonment.
Durban high court judge Shyam Gyanda rejected Gregorowski’s version that Scott's injuries — likened to those of a victim of a high affect car accident — were caused because she slipped after showering, that they had argued and he might have pushed her or given her one slap, and that he had performed CPR on her four times.
Prosecutor state advocate Krishan Shah, had in argument suggested that Gregorowski’s version “smacked of being rehearsed”, that he could not account for Scott’s extensive injuries, for the blood spatter, for the state of the room, the upturned furniture and contents of her handbag splayed on the floor.
And Shah said, Gregorowski had “thought nothing” to cast aspersions on his legal representatives, three of whom he had fired during the trial, when confronted with improbabilities and contradictions.
During the trial which began in March this year, the court heard evidence that Gregorowski, 35, and Scott, 54, had been living together in Horse Shoe Cottage, which they shared with another friend, Reinhard Spamgehl.
On the day of the crime, Scott had returned home after visiting her daughter and there had been a disagreement between them because a young woman, named only as Melissa, had been staying there in her absence.
Gregorowski, Melissa and Spamgehl had gone to the Polo Pony Hotel, leaving Scott alone at home.
WhatsApp messages handed in to court, showed that the couple had been experiencing relationship problems. He wanted to end it, she didn’t. He was completely financially reliant on her.
At some point during the evening, neighbours heard “thudding and thumping noises” from the cottage which was in complete darkness. They also heard Spamgehl return home and shout, unsuccessfully, for Gregorowski to open up.
Evidence showed that Gregorowski called his mother, using Scott’s phone, to say there had been an accident. His mother then called another neighbour, Anja Lotriet, asking her to go to the cottage. She had her own key, unlocked the security gate and found Scott lying on the bed, dead, and Gregorowski with a knife “trying to cut his wrists”.
Lotriet told the court that he said: “I am sorry. I don’t know what I have done.” She testified that Scott was “always on edge” and that Gregorowski used to “belittle her”.
Forensic pathologist Dr Sibusiso Nsele said Scott’s injuries were a result of a “huge force”, such as being struck by a car. He said the assault must have continued for at least 30 minutes, objects such as belts, pliers and the heel of a shoe were used, and Scott had died a slow and painful death. Such injuries could not have been caused by CPR.
Gregorowski claimed they had broken up two weeks earlier. He said he had been high on crystal meth, had returned from the hotel after being involved in a fight, and Scott had been in the shower.
When she stepped out, she had attacked him and he might have “pushed her or backhanded her”. He then showered for at least 30 minutes because he was “spaced out”. When he finished, Scott was lying on the bathroom floor, blood coming out of her nose.
He said he dragged her to the bedroom and tried to do CPR several times. He also tried to hang himself twice because “he loved her, she was my best friend”.
Sentencing proceedings were under way on Monday.
Unless there are substantial and compelling circumstances, Gregorowski will be sentenced to life imprisonment.
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