Fatal stabbing of wife was ‘cold, calculated’ act, says psychiatrist

2009-08-07 00:00

A PSYCHIATRIST expressed the view yesterday that the conduct of murder accused Jaiseelan Govindsamy when he stabbed his wife Anthea 19 times at Howick Falls in 2007 was “cold, calculated, callous, deliberate and diabolical” and that the act was poorly planned and executed.

Specialist psychiatrist Dan Moodley is one of three members of a panel of psychiatrists appointed to observe Govindsamy (41) and to assess his mental state at the time of the stabbing on March 25, 2007.

Moodley yesterday told Judge Esther Steyn and her assessors that he based his findings about Govindsamy on the factual evidence he has heard in the course of the trial and not “psychological speculation”.

He said he disagreed with the findings of clinical psychologist Lingum Pillay, who concluded that Govindsamy suffered from an acute “cata-thymic crisis” and was therefore unable to control his actions when he stabbed his wife to death. He said Pillay’s findings were based almost solely on what he was told by Govindsamy.

Moodley referred to the testimony of Anthea’s friend, Geraldine, that she had wrestled with Govindsamy in an attempt to stop him stabbing Anthea and that he had told her that he was “not there for her, but that her day will come [to have] a taste of what it’s like” before he stabbed her lightly and then continued to stab his wife. This, said Moodley, was an indication that Govindsamy was in his full senses.

He said the way Govindsamy stabbed Geraldine was not the same way that he stabbed his wife, but was simply a “taste”, as he had said.

When he continued to stab Anthea, he had said that if he couldn’t have her, “nobody else will and till death us do part”, according to the evidence. This too indicated that he was rational.

“This evidence suggests that his behaviour was goal-directed and purposeful. He was focused at the time.”

The psychiatrist said Govindsamy’s account of the alleged amount of drugs — cocaine and Ecstasy — and alcohol that he had consumed since two days before the incident was “not in keeping” with his actions. He had been able to function normally.

For example, he had been able to drive and converse with others. He had gone to see his wife’s sister and asked her where Anthea and the children were and on being told they were at the falls, had driven there.

“The only disturbance noted by one witness was that he had slightly slurred speech and Mark Anderson testified that his face was pale and he appeared to be zombie-like.

“I submit that the accused was not as intoxicated as he claimed,” said Moodley.

“In my opinion this was a cold, calculated, callous, deliberate and diabolical act that was poorly planned and badly executed,” he concluded.

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