Strangling was planned, state holds

2011-04-20 00:00

STATE Advocate Gert Nel yesterday told murder accused Amith Sewkarran that he had long intended to strangle Sandesh Poorun and not simply because a plan to poison him had failed.

Nel said this while cross-examining Sewkarran, who has been testifying in mitigation of sentence in the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

Sewkarran has testified that Poorun had persistently harassed him and his wife, Kalisha Rajcoomar, who has also been convicted of the murder of Poorun.

Poorun has a child with Rajcoomar, but did not want to take responsibility for or support the child, according to Sewkarran.

The accused said that Rajcoomar lured Poorun to a lodge and tried to poison him with a spiked mixture of alcohol and drugs. However, Poorun only became “very drunk” and lay in bed.

Sewkarran told the court that he was bewildered and only then decided to strangle Poorun. Rajcoomar helped him choke Poorun by turning him on to his stomach and holding his mouth and nose closed to stop his breathing.

Nel said Sewkarran had a week to make alternative plans to restrain him from harassing them, such as reporting to the police that Poorun had breached court protection orders to refrain from pestering her and threatening him.

Judge Piet Koen said that he could have briefed an attorney.

Nel said that Sewkarran could have killed Poorun in other ways, such as with his car tools, and the fact that he had done strengthening exercises could point to his resolve to strangle Poorun.

The state advocate said that the bewilderment that Sewkarran had claimed to have experienced before choking Poorun was nowhere apparent after the event. By then Sewkarran’s mind had focused very sharply and he did practical things to try to evade detection.

They wrapped Poorun’s body and possible bodily traces of Rajcoomar in bedding, took him to Sewkarran’s car, and then bought petrol and charcoal to burn his body.

Sewkarran said: “We had a dead body on our hands. I just could not comprehend it. I had not done anything like this before.”

Nel said: “In your panic you thought more clearly than before the deed.”

The state may call a relative of Poorun to testify today.

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