Durban – JANET Scott loved her boyfriend very much, supported him financially and stuck with him no matter what, but that did not stop him from beating her to death.
On Monday Scott’s daughter watched with mixed emotions as former professional jockey Graham Gregorowski was sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder.
Stacy Lee Mitchell said her mother’s death haunted her daily.
“It’s been four years since I was robbed of a mother and my two kids of a granny. All she wanted was to be nana (granny). She was not here to experience my pregnancies. She was robbed of the opportunity to hold her grandson and granddaughter,” she said.
In an emotional description of how badly beaten up his sister was, Scott’s brother, Robert Thomas Scott, said in his victim impact statement that identifying her body at the morgue was the hardest thing he had ever had to do.
“I could not recognise her face. After I left the viewing room, I went back in and asked if they could bring her out to me again as I needed to make sure, and the only way I could be sure was to check her stomach as I knew that she had a ladybug tattoo. I was completely distraught to see the tattoo and my worst nightmare became real.
“Whenever one of my three daughters goes out with a boy, I stay awake wondering if she is safe,” he said.
His family had been against the relationship between Scott, 54, and Gregorowski, 29 at the time, not only because of the age gap between them, but because of Gregorowski’s reputation in the horse-racing industry for having a temper coupled with rumours that he had beaten up previous partners.
Scott’s body was found by neighbours in Horseshoe Cottage in Shongweni on October 15, 2016, with Gregorowski lying next to her.
Judge Shyam Gyanda said in his judgment that a witness had testified that Scott was always “edgy” around Gregorowski and wore clothes to cover her injuries.
“It is clear that he was abusive and violent towards her in the past and it is clear that he was violent on the night of the incident.
“You beat up a defenceless woman and she does not fight back, and you do not stop to think about what you’re doing. You only stop when she is dead. People suffer because you could not control your anger. This is murder and she is never coming back. Society demands that people like you get appropriate sentences,” he said.
The jockey was denied his application for leave to appeal against his conviction and sentence.
Judge Gyanda said it was impossible that another court would find he had not intended to kill Scott.
The defence had submitted as mitigating factors that Gregorowski was a first offender, young, has two minor children and his girlfriend is pregnant, and that he had shown remorse.
Senior state advocate Krishen Shah said the facts showed that the fatal assault was not the first. He said from WhatsApp messages read in court, it was evident that Gregorowski was violent towards Scott and she stuck by him even when he abused her physically and emotionally, accusing her of sleeping with other men.
“We will be making a mockery of a very serious scourge of gender-based violence if he (Gregorowski) received a lesser sentence than the prescribed sentence of life imprisonment,” said Shah.