No bail for Romila Singh

2009-04-07 00:00

RELEASING accused Romila Singh on bail might hamper investigations into her alleged murder of her daughter-in-law, Fiona Khader, Pietermaritzburg magistrate Zoh Dlamini decided yesterday.

Singh (53) is alleged to have murdered Khader on February 24. Her body was found in a cleaner’s toilet in Gani’s Flats, stabbed once in the neck and twice in the stomach.

A motive suggested for the murder was that Singh allegedly did not want Khader to divorce her son, re-marry and take her two children away from Singh.

Singh did not testify in support of her application for bail, but submitted an affidavit. The state cannot cross-examine a bail application made on an affidavit.

Dlamini said investigating officer Swami Pillay, who vehemently opposed bail for Singh, testified that a CCTV camera recorded Singh, accompanied by a man, entering and leaving the building four or five times at the time of the murder.

Pillay said police are still looking for the man, the murder weapon and a cellphone.

Pillay said Singh falsely tried to concoct an alibi that she was not in Pietermaritzburg at the time of the murder.

She did so by reporting to Durban police that she had been robbed in Durban at the time of the murder, however, the items she claimed were stolen were later found by police in her flat. She then claimed that she had duplicates of the items stolen.

When questioned about her version, she said Khader had hired men to rob her. The intention of these statements was to deceive.

Dlamini said there was evidence that Singh is predisposed to violence. Pillay testified that Singh’s adult children are scared of her as she had whipped them with a sjambok. They have indicated they are willing to testify for the state.

He said that Singh and Khader’s relationship had deteriorated so much that Khader went to Pretoria, but was persuaded to return to Pietermaritzburg. Khader lived in fear of Singh, who allegedly forced her to sell samoosas on streets.

Pillay said he considers her a flight risk. State counsel Attie Truter said many criminals sought by the police have not skipped the country, but are hiding in South Africa.

Singh claimed to be suffering from a bone marrow disease that requires treatment and her spleen to be removed, but Dlamini said she did not provide proof of these claims.

Pillay told the court that the state is awaiting further evidence in the form of bank documents and cellphone records.

The case was adjourned to May 27 for further investigation.

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