Murder accused ‘confessed’

2008-04-15 00:00

Two friends of Prestbury murder victim Valentia Vather, who was found stabbed to death on November 3, 2005, told a high court judge yesterday that her husband, Nershendran "Nico" Vather, confessed to them in the early hours of that morning that he had killed Vather.

He also allegedly clung to the ledge of their 12th-floor flat in Hassim Centre and threatened over a 15- to 20-minute period to jump, because he said there was no point in living without his wife.

The court heard Vather earlier signed a declaration giving the two men — Brian Singh and Ricky Naidoo — the responsibility to care for his and Valentia’s son, Micyle (then about a year old), and leaving the proceeds of his late mother’s estate to his child.

Vather denies that he confessed to Singh and Naidoo, and to a policeman, that he killed his wife.

In a statement before court, he alleges he left his wife and son at home in the company of another woman, Yasmin Shaik, at about 7.50 pm and that his wife was "well" at the time.

He claims to have visited the HQ Sports Bar and then gone to an escort agency in May Street before visiting Singh and Naidoo. He spent the night at their flat and the next morning they found his wife had been murdered.

High court Judge Piet Koen and two assessors heard evidence from police photographer Inspector C.J. Els, that Valentia Vather was found lying on her back on a double bed in her Brookby Crescent cottage, the wooden handle of a knife protruding from her left chest area.

Police found a second knife, which appeared to be covered in blood and hair, in a drawer with other utensils in the kitchen.

Els said Valentia Vather also had visible injuries to her neck.

The court was told that a district surgeon removed the knife from the body during the postmortem.

Exhibited before court is a wooden-handled, serrated steak knife, slightly bent.

Singh told the court he knew that Valentia Vather had previously obtained a protection order against the accused, but said on the occasions he saw them together between September and November 2005 they appeared like a "normal, happy couple" to him.

He said she had been living with her family until two weeks prior to her murder, when she moved in with Vather in Brookby Crescent.

She’d said she had problems at home and Singh said it seemed to him that she felt she "had no option" but to accept Vather’s offer of accommodation.

He said Vather arrived at his and Naidoo’s flat late on the night of November 2, 2005. He initially seemed "normal", although he’d had "a few drinks".

However, as the night progressed, he became increasingly emotional and ended up hysterical, crying and threatening suicide.

Singh and Naidoo said after telling them he had killed Valentia, Vather did not want them to call anyone, although they urged him to go to the police.

Singh said on the morning of November 3, Vather told them to accompany him to Brookby Crescent to fetch his "laaitie [son]". They refused to enter the cottage and when he went inside, Naidoo dialled the emergency number.

When he emerged with his son, Naidoo told him he had called the police. Singh said when they arrived, he heard Vather tell them: "I think I’ve killed my wife". The case is proceeding.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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