Secret love ends in tragedy

2015-02-07 00:00

UNABLE to live without his ­lover, an Estcourt man allegedly strangled his former boyfriend before taking his own life by ­setting himself alight.

The murder-suicide played ­itself out in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday night.

Police sources close to the ­investigation said they ­discovered the body of well-known student Shavir Sunder (22) in his Scottsville flat just after 8 pm on Thursday night.

The student, whose body was found lying in his bed, was allegedly strangled to death by his roommate, Suhayl Rambaran (30), who, according to a fellow student, was also his former ­lover.

There were signs of a struggle in the bedroom, while the belt he is thought to have been ­strangled with lay on the bed, ­into which he was neatly tucked when police found him.

According to a police source, Rambaran then wrote a suicide letter on behalf of Sunder and himself, stating that they were sorry and that they are happy now. The letter asked for a joint cremation and gave further ­instructions for the handling of the bodies.

Rambaran, who was divorced and unemployed, then took Sunder’s car and drove a few kilometres from the flat at the corner of New England and Connaught roads to a dirt road in Hayfields.

He then called a relative, ­saying he was in trouble and needed to be fetched, before dousing himself in diesel and setting himself alight. Burnt grass yesterday marked the spot where he stood and set the fire.

It appears Rambaran was able to walk while on fire as he was near Grimthorpe Avenue when his relative arrived at the scene. He was placed in the vehicle and rushed to hospital, but died ­before arriving.

The two men are said to have been living together for almost a year, but kept their relationship a secret, saying they were relatives sharing accommodation.

Sunder, originally from Newcastle, was living in Pietermaritzburg, where he was in the final year of completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. He had one more exam to write before he received his degree.

Varsity College principal ­Kevin McShane said they were shocked to hear of Sunder’s death.

According to McShane, Sunder had completed a bridging course at the campus in 2011 and received 11 distinctions, making him the top student in the programme that year. Because of his achievements, he received tuition from the campus towards a University of South Africa (Unisa) Bachelor of Arts Degree.

“He was extremely popular among fellow students, lecturers and staff alike. Our sincere ­condolences go to his family.”

According to one of Sunder’s close friends, who asked not to be named, he was a “gentle ­loving soul”.

“His humbleness and integrity will forever resonate within every person who had the pleasure of meeting him,” said the friend. “It’s so difficult to find words with the adequate meaning to express the loss that I’m experiencing right now.”

A friend of Rambaran, who also asked to remain anonymous, said he was never the violent type. “We are shocked and cannot believe he has done this. He was one of the most peaceful people we know and never ­displayed any indication of ­violence,” he said.

Facebook posts from devastated friends and family also mourned both men yesterday.

Sunder’s brother, Yasheer, said he was not in a position to comment on the incident.


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