Burnt body: woman arrested

2009-02-18 00:00

A 23-year-old Pietermaritzburg mother has been arrested in connection with the recent disappearance and murder of a Raisethorpe man, Sandesh Poorun (26).

She is expected to appear in court soon, police said yesterday.

Police have now positively established that a body that was found with serious burn wounds in the Cramond area last week is in fact that of the missing Poorun, who vanished on February 7.

The woman - who has an 11-month-old child - is believed to have been involved in a relationship with Poorun previously.

While she was being questioned yesterday, The Witness learned that the woman's husband is lying in the intensive care unit of a local hospital recovering from a suspected overdose of tablets.

Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed that the burnt remains found at Cramond are those of Poorun, and said a postmortem is underway to determine the exact cause of his death.

"At this stage police do have information as to what was done to him and how he was killed, but the actual cause of death has to be officially determined," he said. The motive is believed to be "domestic".

Police forensic experts will be called upon to put together all the pieces of an intricate jigsaw puzzle as they examine various scenes allegedly connected to the crime to determine where and how Poorun was killed and whether his body was transported to the spot where it was dumped and then set alight.

Weekend Witness carried a photograph of Poorun on Valentine's Day. Friends and members of his family reported that they had been searching for him since the previous Saturday to no avail.

He was reportedly last seen while out with a friend at a local pub where he was said to have received a telephone call.

His father, Kamtarpsad Poorun, said they called all his friends and tried phoning Sandesh throughout the week, but his cellphone would go straight to voicemail.

Poorun was employed as an operator at Sherlock.

Dozens of people visited the family's home yesterday to express their condolences.

"They didn't only rob our family, they robbed everyone; relatives, friends and the community of a person who was known and loved by all," Sandesh's sister, Barsha, told The Witness.

"It's like a story, a dream, a nightmare that we haven't realised yet," she said.

"Though Sandesh was quiet, timid, shy, he always made an impact where ever he went. It is amazing for someone like him to know so many people" said Barsha.

"Sandesh was like a son to me. No, he was my son," said one aunt, while another gently interrupted saying: "he was a son to us all".

"He was the only boy in his generation of Poorun men to pass down the surname. His father was the only one out of his four brothers and sisters to have children," said an aunt.

Sandesh's parents and sister expressed their gratitude to the KZN police and the investigating officers for acting as quickly as they did.

"We needed closure; so many people go missing and are never found, leaving their families unable to grieve properly because they just don't know," said Barsha.

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