London: South African police have decided to question 16 male students, who lived with renowned sports commentator and writer Peter Roebuck in an eight-room house.

The young men aged 18 to 26 are mostly Zimbabwean refugees, whose education was being paid for by the deceased writer, a newspaper reported.

It is believed that Roebuck plunged from his sixth floor hotel room after it was alleged that he sexually assaulted Itai Gondo when the two met in his hotel room in Cape Town. Gondo said the former Somerset captain spent days luring him through the social networking site.

However, Tatenda Dennis Chadya, one of the first students to be sponsored by Roebuck, reportedly told a newspaper: "These allegations have come as a complete shock to us all."

"Peter wanted us to be the best that we can and he was inspiration to us all."

The former Somerset captain previously received a suspended jailed sentence in 2001 after it was known that he beat three teenage cricketers on their bare buttocks with a cane.