Accused in strangling case denied bail

2014-09-25 00:00

THE man charged with strangling his land­lady, Saras Govender (57), on August 25 this year, told his girlfriend, “I did this for us, so that we can live properly”.

This evidence was given by investigating officer Sergeant Sheldon Norman when he opposed the granting of bail to accused Vikesh Harripersad (26) in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

Norman told magistrate Ntsoaki Ndawonde that Harripersad confessed to the murder following his arrest.

Norman said he fears that if Harripersad is released he could flee as he has no fixed home or assets, and that he will interfere with state witnesses in the case, who are his girlfriend and other family members.

He said Harripersad’s girlfriend said she is afraid of him.

At the time of the incident he said Harripersad, his girlfriend and her children were renting a section of Govender’s home.

The rent was allegedly not paid and Govender and Harripersad were “fighting”.

Govender had allegedly banned him from entering the property the week before her murder, said Norman.

“His girlfriend pleaded with her [Govender] to let him return … but I believe that they had been given notice,” he said.

He said Harripersad’s girlfriend told police a few days after Govender’s body was found, that he’d confessed.

Harripersad’s defence lawyer, R.J. Maharaj, said Harripersad is going to plead not guilty and alleges he was forced as a result of being “physically beaten” to make a confession to a magistrate.

This was denied by Norman.

He said Govender was allegedly murdered on August 25, but her body was only found on August 27.

Around August 30, Harripersad’s girlfriend told police he’d admitted to her that he killed Govender. Initially Harripersad denied involvement, but when confronted with the evidence, he admitted it, said Norman.

He thereafter agreed to do a pointing out to police at the crime scene, and he also made a confession to a magistrate.

Norman said there was some indication that Govender’s killer wore gloves, and according to one of the state witnesses, Harripersad had been searching for some gloves in the days prior to the murder. The gloves have not been recovered.

He said it was “strange” that the only items that appeared to be missing after the murder were a “prayer necklace” that Govender wore and a cellphone.

The Witness reported that Govender, who was single and had no children, was found dead in her home in Rajput Road. Her hands and feet had been bound and a cloth was allegedly tied around her neck and a pillow covered her face.

Ndawonde is expected to rule on the bail application on September 29.

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