A life of abuse cut short

2012-08-18 00:00

THE mother of slain Caroline Rajah (32) said her daughter was abused by her husband of over 10 years, Madham Maharaj (49), for “every simple thing”.

But Caroline wouldn’t leave him.

She’d open the cases against him but would drop them later. She told her mother and her friends that she “loved Maharaj to death”.

On the night of September 3, 2005, Caroline was beaten to death with a metal handle at her home in Wayside Place in Northdale by Maharaj.

Her butchered body was discovered the following day by her father, Bala Rajah, who died three months later from a heart attack triggered by grief.

The couple’s daughter was only eight years old then; she is now 16.

After seven years on the run, Maharaj was re-arrested on Monday for the murder of his wife. He was working as a caretaker at a primary school in Phoenix , Durban.

He confessed to the killing this week in court and will be sentenced next week.

Caroline’s mother, Lutchmee Rajah (59), dabbed her eyes as she spoke about her pain.

“I lost two people because of him [Maharaj]; my grandchild doesn’t have a mother and I don’t have a daughter,” she said.

Lutchmee lost her family home after her husband died.

She said the night her daughter was murdered, her granddaughter ran to their house for help.

They lived few houses from Caroline’s house. “The child came and asked us to go see her mom and dad fighting. My husband said he was too busy with his work and couldn’t go. If he only went that night he might have found her alive.”

Maharaj also had a restraining order against Caroline’s father.

“My husband was a strong person, but the state of my daughter’s body took him one time.”

In a statement in court, Maharaj said: “I assaulted her [Caroline] all over her body with a handle and may have even used my fists because I was angry. I hit her on her head, her feet, her hands, her body and I did use force such (sic) that the deceased started to bleed on several parts of her body and blood from her injuries transferred to my clothing.”

Lutchmee said her husband told Caroline over and over again to leave her husband.

“She said she loved him to death and that man took advantage of that love. She believed that no man would take her after the divorce.”

She came face to face with her son-in-law on Monday at Mountain Rise police station, after the police informed her that they had caught her daughter’s killer after seven years. Her granddaughter was also present, and they both were sobbing.

“I told him I forgive him because I’m a Christian, but said to him he must go in for what he did. He said he was sorry, but didn’t show sympathy. Even if he goes to jail, my daughter is dead.”

A friend, who did not want to be named, said that in 2003 Caroline showed her her back covered in slash marks, with blood and fluid oozing from the wounds.

“There was no place to even put your finger [between the wounds]” so badly has Maharaj beaten her, said the friend.

It was alleged that Maharaj once poured acid over Caroline.

Lutchmee said her faith in God had kept her strong.

“If it wasn’t for Jesus I would have been gone in those six years.”

She said she was happy that Maharaj had finally been caught, but that a life sentence was not enough for what he did.

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