Suspect acquitted in murder of 75-year-old woman

The criminal court on Wednesday acquitted a suspect charged in connection with the murder of a 75-year-old woman on the island of Neykurendhoo in Haa Dhaal atoll.

Ali Shaheem from Kaafu Guraidhoo was accused of suffocating Fathmath Zakariyya to death with a towel on April 15, 2012.

The court said the prosecution was unable to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

However, Shaheem had confessed to the murder during the police interrogation. While state prosecutors submitted a video of the confession, the court said a forensic reports relating to the videos were not submitted.

The judge also said the prosecution did not submit a doctor’s report that ruled out natural causes.

However, Shameem was found guilty of stealing the deceased’s phone. He was also accused of stealing her jewellery.

While an expatriate state witness had testified that Shaheem sold him the jewellery, the court said the sate was unable to prove that the jewellery was stolen from Fathmath.

The phone was meanwhile in Shaheem’s possession when he was taken to the Kulhudhufushi police station and its serial number matched the phone used by the deceased.

The court said Shaheem was unable to prove his assertion that he had bought the phone.

The trial on the charges of murder and theft were conducted without a lawyer as Shaheem had declined legal representation.