Killer couple await their sentences

2011-05-10 00:00

CONVICTED murderer Kalisha Rajcoomar was painted by the prosecution and defence counsel representing her husband, Amith Sewkarran, as a “master manipulator” and driving force behind the murder of Sandesh Poorun, her ex-lover and father of her child, on February 7, 2009.

State advocate Gert Nel and Auret van Heerden, for Sewkarran, submitted before Judge Piet Koen yesterday that if she had chosen to, Rajcoomar had the power over Sewkarran to put a stop to the murder.

Instead, said Nel, the couple carried out their plan, hatched at least a week earlier, to murder Poorun “in the most brutal manner” by strangling him. It took between half-an-hour and 45 minutes to conclude the killing, he said.

“When you strangle someone you feel the life leaving the victim.”

Nel said the accused went further and Rajcoomar checked to see if he had a pulse and make sure he was dead.

Nel said Rajcoomar was a “go getter” and a leader and controlled both Poorun and Sewkarran.

But Rajcoomar’s attorney, Anand Pillay, submitted the court ought to view Rajcoomar as a “battered woman” and urged the judge through his sentence to “send a message that the abuse of women will not be tolerated”. He urged the court to take into account the psychological effect on Rajcoomar of being abandoned by her biological father when she was four years old and her resultant “dependency” on Poorun, her first boyfriend; her allegations that he abused her “emotionally, physically and verbally and stalked her”; the effect of his refusal to marry her; and her fear that her child would grow up without a father.

Although he would not marry her himself, Poorun was “infuriated” by her relationship with Sewkarran, did not respect the couple’s marriage and extended his harassment to Sewkarran as well, said Pillay.

The submissions were made during argument to determine whether compelling or substantial circumstances exist that would justify the court imposing less than life imprisonment on the young couple for the premeditated murder of Poorun.

The couple pleaded guilty at the start of their trial and have described how they lured Poorun to The Gables bed-and-breakfast in Scottsville on the pretext he would spend the night with Rajcoomar and that she was intending to divorce Sewkarran.

While he lay in an alcohol-induced sleep the couple strangled him, cleaned the body and room, placed the body into their car and drove to Bishopstowe.

On the way they bought five litres of petrol and charcoal and set fire to the body at an isolated spot next to the road.

Sewkarran’s advocate, Van Heerden, submitted yesterday that Sewkarran “danced to Rajcoomar’s tune” and they ought not to receive the same sentence.

He submitted that Rajcoomar strung both Sewkarran and Poorun along, that she married Sewkarran for convenience and security, but continued her intimate relationship with Poorun, and that Sewkarran was “gullible” and “believed her stories”.

Van Heerden said Sewkarran claims still to love Rajcoomar today and believes that they will be together after serving their sentences.

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