Murder sentencing held up

2010-10-26 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG mother Kalisha Rajcoomar (23), who with her husband, Amith Sewkarran (26), stands convicted of the murder of her lover, Sandesh Poorun, could not testify yesterday because she was suffering from “panic attacks”, anxiety and stress.

This was one of a number of developments at the resumption of the couple’s trial yesterday.

Rajcoomar’s attorney, Anand Pillay, said she needs medication prescribed by a psychiatrist at Westville prison, but which was not available yesterday as it is given out daily in prison to avoid an overdose.

She was due to be seen by a district surgeon after the hearing yesterday.

Pillay also disclosed that two defence witnesses who were expected to testify on Rajcoomar’s behalf yesterday have had a change of heart. One sent an SMS stating that her husband does not want her to become involved, and the other did not respond to calls yesterday.

Rajcoomar’s sister, Duvasha, who did testify, broke down and cried in the witness box at one stage when a suggestion was put to her that her sister never loved Sewkarran as much as she loved Poorun, and had married him purely for the sake of security for herself and her baby.

“She seemed happy, excited about the marriage [to Sewkarran] … She had everything … She had a good job, she had Neha [her baby] … she didn’t need security,” Duvasha said.

However, she agreed under cross-examination by Auret van Heerden, for Sewkarran, that she was aware that her sister still had feelings for Poorun. She said she had not known about an occasion where they had allegedly gone away together overnight.

She also did not know — as testified to by Poorun’s former colleagues — that Kalisha often contacted him and went to see him at work. She knew that her sister kept in touch with Poorun over “visitation rights”, she said.

Duvasha said her sister and Sewkarran decided to marry, secretly, to let Poorun know that they had a “strong and stable” relationship.

Apart from the “harassment, fights and bickering” caused by Poorun, they had seemed happy, she said.

Duvasha said Poorun had been upset when Kalisha fell pregnant and he did not want to marry her.

Kalisha wanted a stable home for her and the baby, but Poorun’s family did not accept the baby and called Kalisha a “slut”, she told the court. They demanded she undergo two paternity tests.

She did not know why they suspected someone else of fathering the child. She said she first came to know about Sewkarran in 2006, but Kalisha talked of him only as a “friend”.

State advocate Gert Nel read out two messages allegedly sent by Kalisha to Poorun in the space of 12 days.

The first e-mail, dated February 2, 2007, read: “Just wanted you to know that I am sorry. Everything I have with Amith, I wanted with you. Why couldn’t you just give me what I wanted?”

Then on February 14, Kalisha wrote to Poorun: “Thank you for loving me so much. This time we are forever.”

Background:

Rajcoomar and Sewkarran previously admitted that they planned to kill Poorun because he allegedly constantly “harrassed” them; that they lured him to a bed and breakfast in Scottsville, and strangled whilst in a drugged state. They then drove his body to Table Mountain where they set it alight.The murder took place in February 2009.

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