I was in a dream, says wife killer

2009-07-31 00:00

JUST before Jaiseelan Govindsamy (41) stabbed his wife, Anthea, “over and over” at Howick Falls on March 25, 2007, he felt rage and anger come over him. He saw and heard nothing else.

Afterwards, as he looked around, the faces of the people were like “smudged paintings” and he felt like he was “in a dream”.

Although he knew immediately that he had stabbed his wife, he didn’t feel that he had killed her. He could not recall her body or if there was blood on him. He felt “confused and disorientated”.

Later in a police cell he tried to hang himself.

The next day, he was “completely disorientated” and not sure why he was in the cell. He speculated he must have been drunk or drugged or involved in a motor vehicle accident.

He was also “paranoid” and felt his fellow prisoners wanted to kill him. It was only when a prisoner asked why he had killed his girlfriend that the memory of what happened came flooding back.

He felt then he wanted to die and started thinking of his children.

“Part of him tried hard to deny it, hoping it was just a bad dream.”

This is what he told his clinical psychologist, Dr Lingum Pillay, who prepared a report that was handed to Judge Esther Steyn and two assessors by Govindsamy’s lawyer, Kevin Chetty, yesterday.

Pillay concludes in the report that Govindsamy suffered from “Acute Catathymic Crisis” at the time of the stabbing — a condition that exists when “severe psychological stress caused by life events so overwhelms a person that it … effectively renders the person temporarily incapable of controlling his actions”.

Pillay said that when someone’s mental functioning is overwhelmed by this condition, he cannot think rationally or logically and his behaviour is involuntary.

Govindsamy is expected to take the witness stand today.

The judge agreed to adjourn the case until Pillay was able to be present to observe Govindsamy’s testimony “in the interests of a fair trial”.

Pillay said that Govindsamy told him his wife was “the centre of his entire life”. He met her when he was 19 and she was the only love of his life.

According to him, difficulties started when she became obsessed with falling pregnant. She got pregnant in 1999, but in 2003 their eldest son was diagnosed with a neuro-degenerative disorder. Govindsamy felt that his wife blamed him for this and that her feelings towards him started to change.

“He maintains that she became emotionally distant, would often verbally taunt him, pick on aspects of his masculinity and would ignore him.”

He subsequently began abusing alcohol and cocaine.

The case is proceeding.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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