Devnarain case: gardener taken to court

2009-03-18 00:00

A second suspect has been arrested in connection with the murder of six-year-old Raelin Devnarain and the brutal attack on his mother, Pradatha Devnarain — while the man who worked for her has appeared in court.

At 9 am yesterday, police arrested a 27-year-old man in Northdale.

Gardener Zamokwakhe Eric Hadebe appeared briefly in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on charges of murder, attempted murder and robbery.

The case was postponed for seven days pending further investigations.

Prosecutor Pranisha Kasool told magistrate Zodumo Dlamini that arrangements have been made for Hadebe to be interviewed at the high court “with a view to taking a possible plea”.

He elected to apply for a legal aid attorney to assist him.

The second man will also be charged with the murder of Raelin, the attempted murder of Devnarain and robbery.

He is believed to be the second man who was allegedly seen with Hadebe at the Devnarain home on Thursday evening last week, the night before Raelin and his mother were found.

Two men were reportedly seen driving Devnarain’s Golf on Friday morning. The car was tracked by a Netstar helicopter to the Table Mountain area, where it was found abandoned.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said Devnarain’s bag containing a cellphone, cash and other items were also taken.

In their investigation, police questioned several other people.

Her 37-year-old ex-boyfriend reported to the Mountain Rise police station on Friday after the incident. He was questioned, but was later released.

Police confirmed that Hadebe worked as a gardener for Devnarain. On Monday, Hadebe and a woman believed to be his girlfriend were taken in for questioning.

Hadebe was arrested and the woman was released.

Hadebe was out on bail on charges of theft of a motor vehicle and will be back in court in July for that case.

Devnarain allegedly argued with both Hadebe and his girlfriend, a domestic worker who quit her job with Devnarain soon afterwards.

Devnarain’s brother, Nirdesh Bhikshu, commended the police for the arrest. “We are hoping that the police will leave no stone unturned to make sure that if there are more people involved in this, they are arrested. We are confident that the police will give this case a thorough investigation and we pray that those involved will receive severe punishment.”

Bhikshu said his sister is still unconscious, but has shown “slight signs” of recovery.

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