Couple’s gruesome strangle struggle

2010-10-28 00:00

HER voice cracking and her testimony interspersed by sobs Kalisha Rajcoomar (24) gave a harrowing description yesterday of how she helped her husband, Amith Sewkarran, strangle her ex-lover until they overcame his struggle for life on February 7 last year.

Appropriately dressed in black, Rajcoomar told Judge Piet Koen they both shook with fear as they contemplated what they were about to do while the victim — Sandesh Poorun, the father of her baby — lay in an alcoholic sleep at The Gables bed and breakfast to which she had lured him earlier that night.

Going through her mind were thoughts that if she didn’t do it she would end up divorced from one man (Sewkarran), with a child out of wedlock and in an ongoing abusive relationship with Poorun.

“I thought about what sort of life my child would have with a battered and abused mother and an alcoholic father ... it was a point of no return. We stood in silence for a few minutes ... then Amith said lets just get it over and done with,” she testified.

The public gallery — filled with Poorun’s family and that of the accused — was warned by the judge that there should be “no murmurs” despite the emotion of the moment.

Rajcoomar testified the room was dark and Poorun was asleep on his stomach. Sewkarran indicated to her how he was going to grip Poorun with his arm.

“Amith advanced towards the bed and grabbed Sandesh and started strangling him ... he gripped him with his right arm and held tight. Sandesh woke up and started screaming.

“Amith indicated to me that I should turn up the volume on the TV and I did. Sandesh was crying ... he was struggling and fighting.”

He’d tried to head-butt Sewkarran,bruising his eye and he told her to assist. “I went over to where they were struggling. I sat on Sandesh’s back and I put my hand over Sandesh’s nose and mouth ...”

She said because of the struggling she had to let go but Sewkarran “held on tighter”.

“With his last strength Sandesh picked himself up off the bed and then he passed out,” she said, sobbing.

Rajcoomar said Poorun however did not die and Sewkarran kept “switching arms” as he carried on strangling him. When she felt for a pulse he still had one and Sewkarran had put his fingers around Poorun’s neck.

“He held on and he held on ... he told me I should check for a pulse. I put my hand under Sandesh’s nose and mouth and when I pulled my hand out there was blood and froth ... I got nearly hysterical ... There was no pulse on Sandesh and I knew he was dead.”

“I kept saying ‘Oh my God, what have we done?’ Amith knelt in front of me and he said everything is going to be okay,” she said.

But when Sewkarran turned the body over she saw Poorun’s eyes were sill open and she started screaming. “Amith said I must block my eyes.”

After wiping the body with wet towels they put Poorun’s clothes back on, “emptied the room” and Sewkarran put the body into the car. They drove to an isolated place on the Bishopstowe road, stopping for Sewkarran to buy five litres of petrol and two bags of charcoal.

She sat crying while Sewkarran carried the body into long grass.

“I heard him drop the body and I closed the car door. A few moments later I saw flames.”

Rajcoomar said at first it felt to her almost as if they had “nothing to do with murdering Sandesh”, and he was “just missing”. She even telephoned friends to find out if they had seen him.

When told the body had been found she “burst out crying”.

Rajcoomar said she felt she could not live with the guilt. She told Sewkarran she was going to commit suicide and write a letter saying she had hired someone to kill Poorun. She felt she was to blame for bringing Poorun into their lives.

Rajcoomar described various failed attempts at taking her life including swallowing mandrax, other tablets and Rattex, slitting her wrists and hanging herself.

The case is proceeding.

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