Granny killer loses appeal over frenzied attack

2009-09-26 00:00

A MAN who murdered a grandmother and seriously injured his in-laws in a frenzied attack in Merebank, Durban, in 2005, has failed in his appeal against his conviction and effective 15-year jail term.

Jonathan Daniel Chetty (27) was found guilty by regional court magistrate S. Marks of the murder of Lily Govender and the attempted murders of Sagren and Rani Christopher on December 18, 2005. The victims were attacked with what was thought to be a sickle and a knife.

Two days before the incident, Chetty travelled from Pretoria to visit his estranged wife, Catherine, and their baby, who were staying with her parents.

Catherine said in evidence she had left Chetty two months earlier when he became violent towards her.

On the day of the attack, she said he asked her to return with him to Pretoria and she refused.

Chetty alleged Catherine left him because she was “bored” in Pretoria.

Judge Kate Pillay, with Judge Trevor Gorven, this week found that the magistrate correctly convicted Chetty, and agreed with submissions by state advocate Dheelan Naidoo that the evidence supported the versions given by the state witnesses.

The appeal court said the sentence imposed was not disturbingly inappropriate or too harsh.

According to the court record, police had been called on the day of the murder to intervene in an argument between Chetty and Catherine at his parents’ home and to return the couple’s baby to Catherine.

Catherine said that in the evening Chetty sent a message that he wanted to talk to her, but she refused to see him. Fifteen minutes later Chetty arrived at the locked gate and called her. She went to the gate and he asked if she would go back to Pretoria with him. She said no.

She then saw Chetty draw a weapon she thought was a sickle or bush knife, and she fled into the house.

In a subsequent struggle, her grandmother, Lily Govender, was killed and her parents injured.

State witnesses said Chetty kicked the door off its hinges and attacked Rani Christopher while she was holding his baby. She was stabbed seven times.

Govender tried to intervene and was stabbed in the neck.

Sagren Christopher was attacked with a knife and stabbed on his head when he tried to talk to Chetty.

Chetty put the blame on his father-in-law, who he said tried to stab him when he entered the property. He alleged Sagren Christopher accidentally stabbed and killed his own mother and injured his wife in the ensuing scuffle.

Chetty said he and Sagren were injured when they rolled on to pieces of broken bottle on the floor during a scuffle.


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