Trickster accused:I’m an addict

2012-07-10 00:00

THE woman arrested for allegedly ripping off elderly folk across Pietermaritzburg claimed to have been assaulted while in police holding cells at the weekend and said she was a recovering heroin addict.

The softly-spoken woman, small in stature, who is named as Charlene Singh on court records, made these claims in her brief appearance in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrates’ Court yesterday afternoon.

Asking to sit down, Singh told the magistrate that she was not well as she was a recovering addict and had been in withdrawal.

After asking The Witness to get the attention of her attorney, Nasen Naicker for her, she claimed to have been harassed while in police cells.

Singh had entered the court room a lone woman among four or five men, also in line for a turn in the dock on other charges.

Dressed in a blue coat, she stared straight ahead after taking her seat on a bench.

She waited while two others took their turns and magistrate M. Kunene went through the motions. Then came Singh’s turn.

The magistrate called her name, “Mrs Singh”.

Standing up in the dock, she corrected him.

“I’m Khan. I used that name when I was married,” she told the magistrate in a matter-of-fact manner.

Naicker told the court his client had been assaulted in the police cells at Camperdown police station and asked that this be reported to police.

The magistrate agreed.

Naicker then asked that she be allowed to sit down because she was not feeling well, adding that “she is a recovering heroin addict and is in withdrawal”.

Kunene allowed this and postponed the case to July 20.

Singh then tapped this reporter on the shoulder, asking him to get the attention of her lawyer again.

“They’re harassing me,” she said quietly to him.

After the proceedings, the woman hid her head underneath her jacket to avoid being photographed.

She walked out as she had arrived, along with the men.

One of them was arrested for the murder of 12-year-old schoolgirl Ayanda Sibiya, who was found dead in a water tank on the grounds of a Methodist Church in Sweetwaters last week.

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