Gail Papli murder: 'Every day gets worse'

2009-02-10 00:00

A year after her death, the family of the UKZN student who was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend are still unable to come to terms with it.

"They say that everything heals in time, but every day gets worse for us," said Jack Papli, father of Gail Papli, who was found dead by police in her rented flat in Newholmes on February 10 last year.

The masters student was found with several stab wounds to her neck, following an alleged argument between her and her boyfriend. The boyfriend, Nivesh Doodla, was later arrested and charged for the murder.

"No parent should have to go through this. Our hearts are bleeding. The family is still hurt. It's hard to forget. Her pictures are in every room. We remember her every single day," said the retired man.

The family recently held their first anniversary memorial service at their home in Port Shepstone. Papli explained that this prayer is done in Hindu cultures so that the deceased may travel safely to the next life.

In this 27-year-old's lifetime, she acquired many friends and was passionate about her work. A chapter of her incomplete thesis had already been published and she lectured at the university.

"She wanted to do what she wanted to do - end of story," said her father. "That's why her professor liked her and supported her work so much. She loved it."

Her brother Theo, who was the first to receive the news of her death, described Papli as a happy-go-lucky and easy-going person.

"We were very close. You know, even though I was older, she always gave me advice and we spoke about everything."

Theo Papli said he will never forget the day he received the call from one of his sister's friends telling him that she had been killed.

"I thought she was joking. I thought to myself, this is such a stupid joke - But then she started crying and I knew she wasn't lying to me.

"You read about things like this in the paper, but you never think it will happen to you or your family," he said.

He said there isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't miss her.

Sivie Naidoo, the father of one of Gail's close friends, described her as a daughter. "She even used to come visit when my daughter moved to the UK. My wife used to cook for her - she was a vegetarian, you know."

On Women's Day last year, Naidoo sponsored 15 floating trophies for schools around Pietermaritzburg to be awarded to pupils who excelled in science as part of the Gail Papli Remembrance Day.

Doodla, meanwhile, is due to appear in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on March 16.

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