Court hears of stalker's dinner invites
Cape Town - Australian accountant Shumsheer Ghumman's invitations to dinner parties in the United Kingdom stopped after his romantic relationship with the daughter of a prominent business executive ended, the Cape Town Regional Court heard on Thursday.
Ghumman, 32, a former manager in the employ of a major investment bank in the UK, testified for his own defence, after the State closed its case on four charges that include the attempted murder of the executive, and malicious damage to his Clifton home.
Ghumman's woes started after he met Hannah Rhind, daughter of Philip Rhind, at a dinner party in the UK, hosted by a mutual friend.
He told the court that he was attracted to Hannah, and they started dating.
After the dinner party, they had a Sunday picnic together in a park in London, and their dating included an underground tube journey together to a wine-tasting event.
Asked by senior defence counsel Francois van Zyl if anything romantic had happened during their dates, he replied: "We kissed in the park, and on the tube going to the wine-tasting event."
Ghumman is the son of an Australian medical practitioner. His qualifications include a BA degree in psychology, a B.Com degree in Accounting Services, diplomas in tax law and accounting, and a qualification in investment management.
He said his contract with the investment bank was terminated after his arrest.
He told the court he was a keen photo-journalist, and had his own photographic business in Australia, with expensive professional equipment, before moving to the UK.
After the dinner party, he had walked Hannah part of the way home.
"I was attracted to Hannah, and felt that the sentiments were mutual," he told the court
Ghumman said he had planned a curry evening at the Oriental Club in London, and had invited Hannah as well as other guests at the dinner party.
Hannah later told him she was planning a wine-tasting, and that he had to book in advance to attend.
At the wine-tasting event, he got the impression that Hannah was also attracted to him, but was very busy in her job as a pharmaceutical sales executive, he said.
Asked by his counsel if he was interested in her, he replied:"I was."
He said their relationship turned sour due to the pressures of her work, which affected their communication.
"I became frustrated by the hot and cold nature of her communication with me... one moment, she would be very interested in me, and then not," Ghumman said.
Hannah Rhind earlier told the court their relationship was platonic, and that any romance was in his fantasies.
The trial continues on Friday.