Former con accused in court again over jewellery thefts

2014-04-01 00:00

THE woman who once stood accused of “conning” her way into the homes of elderly residents in Pietermaritzburg in 2012, is in court again, this time charged with stealing valuable gold jewellery.

Charlene Singh (29) of Northdale appeared in the regional court yesterday on charges of stealing two gold chains worth R35 000 from Vishvani Maharaj at Northdale on January 14, theft of thali chains valued at R25 000 from Myesh­wari Pillay at Newholmes on January 18 and theft of an 18-carat gold chain and pendant, as well as a women’s mungalsutra chain worth R85 000 from Amladevi Hariparsad at Raisethorpe on January 22.

Thali and mungalsutra chains indicate the marital status of women from the Tamil and Hindi communities respectively.

They are presented as gifts to brides on their wedding day.

The case has been postponed until tomorrow to enable Singh to apply for legal aid and consult a lawyer.

When Singh appeared in court in connection with the fresh charges last Friday, drama erupted when police suspected that a male friend was trying to hand Singh some cocaine in a small plastic packet.

The man was removed for questioning, but provincial police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim confirmed later that the powder turned out to be an innocuous Grandpa headache powder.

“It was not drugs, hence nobody was arrested or detained,” Ebrahim said.

Singh gained notoriety when she was arrested during 2012 for allegedly conning her way into the homes of elderly residents in Pietermaritzburg and stealing their property, but these charges were later withdrawn by the state.

While they were still pending, however, she made headlines again by escaping from custody after one of her court appearances when she jumped out of the window of a police vehicle and fled. She was re-arrested an hour later.

Singh subsequently told the magistrate presiding over her case that she’d done so because she was a heroin addict and was in desperate need of a fix. She apologised for her actions and asked the court that she be provided with medical assistance to manage her addiction in jail.

Thereafter, Singh also pleaded guilty to a charge of reckless driving arising from an incident in January 2012 in Church Street when it was alleged she had tried to run over a policewoman, Captain Marina Jurgens, in respect of which she was given a wholly suspended sentence of three years’ imprisonment.

In her plea, Singh admitted she reversed her car without “taking notice in the vicinity”.

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