Court told of tangled affairs

2010-03-30 00:00

SHORTLY before his murder in February last year, Sandesh Poorun told work colleagues that his “on/off” girlfriend and mother of his child, Kalisha Rajcoomar, had asked him to help kill her new husband, Amith Sewkarran.

Rajcoomar and Sewkarran have been convicted of murdering Poorun.

Brandon Stafford, who was a work colleague and friend of Poorun, was testifying in the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

Poorun’s colleagues didn’t take the matter seriously, but they did tell him that she was “bad news” and advised him to leave her, said Stafford.

He said Rajcoomar continued to see Poorun and she “regularly” came to see him at work, even after her marriage to Sewkarran.

Once Poorun knew his friends thought he should leave Rajcoomar, he stopped talking to them about her, said Stafford.

Stafford said he has “no hard feelings” towards Sewkarran, whom he believes is a “victim” who was “duped” into marrying Rajcoomar.

“I don’t think Sandesh (Poorun) had a problem with Amith. He wasn’t threatened by him… They (Sewkarran and Rajcoomar) weren’t even living together, even though they were married,” he said.

He is one of three witnesses called by the prosecution to testify in aggravation of sentence in respect of Rajcoomar (23) and Sewkarran (26), who were convicted last October of the premeditated murder of Poorun in February 2009.

The couple admitted they had strangled him at The Gables bed-and-breakfast in Scottsville after spiking his drink, and later burnt his body. They claimed he harassed them until they saw no other way out.

State witness Captain Gay Ebrahim of the South African Police Service victims’ support unit told Judge Pete Koen that she realised Poorun and Rajcoomar were involved in an “intimate” relationship, despite Rajcoomar’s marriage to Sewkarran, at a meeting in her office on December 23, 2008.

Poorun asked for her help in resolving an issue pertaining to maintenance and his right to visit his child. He mentioned that the couple had “booked in” somewhere the week before, and that Rajcoomar had told him she “still loved him, but that she had got married for security and the future of their child”, said Ebrahim.

Rajcoomar’s mother, Rajashree David, who was called to give evidence on her daughter’s behalf, rejected the allegation that Rajcoomar had carried on an intimate relationship with Poorun during her marriage to Sewkarran. “I don’t believe it,”she responded.

David said that during the week Captain Ebrahim referred to, her daughter and Sewkarran were busy decorating their bedroom ahead of a planned traditional wedding ceremony. She added that her daughter would “never leave her baby” to go away with Poorun.

She testified that Rajcoomar had only became involved with Sewkarran in mid-2008, after the birth of her baby.

However, under cross-examination by state advocate Adele Janse van Vuuren, David said her daughter had not told her when she married Sewkarran. The family only found out about the marriage after Poorun’s murder, she said.

“We wanted them to have a traditional wedding. That’s what we planned … I guess that’s why they didn’t tell us,” she said.

She testified that her daughter had dated Poorun from the age of 15 years and “loved him dearly”.

She said the “trouble” in the relationship started when Rajcoomar wanted to “formalise” the relationship, and was ready for commitment.

David said the couple started fighting and Poorun “made scenes” at the house, during which he was abusive towards her daughter and to her. Sometimes he abused her daughter physically, she said.

Neighbours also reported that he came at “all hours” of the night, jumped over the wall and knocked on Rajcoomar’s window to fight with her.

When Rajcoomar fell pregnant, David said, Poorun’s mother called her daughter a “slut” and implied the baby was not her son’s.

Rajcoomar had a stressful pregnancy, and was made to undergo two paternity tests by Poorun’s family.

She thought this was because they did not want him to pay maintenance.

Poorun’s cousin, Rithesh Sukdeo, said the family were not happy about the baby because Rajcoomar was also allegedly in a relationship with Sewkarran at that time.

He testified that Rajcoomar had on two occasions applied for protection orders against Poorun after the couple had argued, but withdrew them after he intervened to mediate.

Under cross-examination by Anand Pillay for Rajcoomar, Sukdeo said he was not aware of a third protection order that Rajcoomar had obtained against Poorun, or that Poorun had allegedly breached the order.

The case is proceeding.

I don’t think Sandesh [Poorun] had a problem with Amith. He wasn’t threatened by him. Brandon Stafford, witness

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