Experts called in to testify at the murder trial of Cradle Fund CEO Nazrin Hassan told a Malaysian High Court that the two phones found at the scene appeared to be in “good condition” when officers arrived to investigate the incident.
Abdul Halim Zulkefeli, an investigating officer with the Selangor fire department and the 15th witness called to the stand in the trial — in which Nazrin’s wife and two stepsons are accused of his murder — also backed up investigators’ findings that traces of petrol were found throughout the room.
He also testified that despite claims from the defendants that an exploding phone and subsequent fire killed the well-liked CEO, both phones that were found at the scene showed no signs of combustion. A Blackberry on the mattress and a Huawei phone found at the bottom of the bed were both in good condition.
“The observations and inspections by JBPM Fire Investigations… revealed that the Blackberry was not shattered or curved. This shows that there was no evidence of an explosion on the handphone, and an X-ray done on the handphone also showed that its structure was in good condition,” he told the prosecution.
“My inspection on the Huawei handphone also found it to be in good condition and there were no signs of an explosion.”
Given the inconsistencies between the suspects’ story and his own findings, Abdul Halim was ordered by his superiors to reconstruct the crime scene to deduce what could have caused the fire.
“Through this reconstruction process, I found that the fire was caused by an act of arson as the traces from the fire showed that it was triggered intentionally, this taking into account evidence of ‘multiple fires’ found on the right side of the mattress, both sides of the bed and the victim’s head. No traces of explosion were found on both the handphones found at the scene of the incident.
“There were traces of petrol on the victim’s head and the bed headboard, and there were also injuries on the victim’s face and left shoulder, and also a hole in his head,” he added.
Nazrin’s widow, Samirah Muzaffar, and her two teenage sons stand accused of the executive’s June 14 murder, with the case being reclassified in August after investigators and a postmortem examination found evidence of foul play, including traces of petrol and head injuries. Investigators now believe that a murder was committed between 11:30pm on June 13 and the early hours of June 14.
An Indonesian maid wanted in connection with the case, Eka Wahyu Lestari, is still at large.
The accused have steadfastly maintained their innocence.
Samirah is the daughter of a well-known political scientist, and is currently being represented by ex-PM Najib’s head legal counsel (and very busy man), Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.