Wife killer to fight jail term

2013-04-09 00:00

CONVICTED Pietermaritzburg killer Madhan Maharaj (49), who is serving an 18-year jail term for the 2005 murder of his wife, Caroline Rajah, will apply for leave to appeal against his sentence in the regional court on April 15.

He appeared briefly in court yesterday under guard and in shackles to be told that the matter had been set down for argument on that date.

Maharaj pleaded guilty to the murder last August after living as a fugitive from justice for seven years.

Maharaj escaped from Fort Napier hospital in 2006 while awaiting trial for his wife’s murder. He was rearrested last year after police found him working as a caretaker at Riverview Primary School in Phoenix, and he confessed to the killing.

He admitted that he had bludgeoned Caroline to death in anger on September 3, 2005, after accusing her of having an affair, which she denied.

When he sentenced Maharaj to 18 years in prison last August, regional magistrate Riaan de Wet said the minimum prescribed sentence for the murder — which was not found to have been premeditated — was 15 years’ imprisonment.

However, because of the seriousness, prevalence and brutality of the offence, the court was satisfied that Maharaj deserved a higher sentence than the minimum.

De Wet said that after beating his wife with a metal handle all over her body till she bled, Maharaj had left her to die a painful and merciless death.

He had only realised the next morning that she was dead. The postmortem revealed multiple injuries including fractures of 11 ribs, her wrist, damage to the arteries of the heart, bruising of both lungs and lacerations of her liver and spleen.

De Wet said at the time that Maharaj had not shown true remorse because he had lived a carefree existence for seven years while in hiding from police and did not spare a thought for the suffering and trauma of the victim’s family.

It was due to a break-in at the school where Maharaj was working that police were able to trace him due to the fact that his name was included on a database of witnesses, otherwise he may never have been found.

The victim’s sister, Roslyn, gave evidence that Caroline had told her that Maharaj assaulted her on previous occasions and that they had a stormy relationship.

At times family members heard arguments and heard Caroline crying. Three weeks before her murder, Caroline had left Maharaj and returned five days before he killed her.

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