‘I lived like a dog,’ says Govindsamy

2009-08-01 00:00

FATHER of two Jaiseelan Govindsamy (41) became emotional and wept at times in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday as he recalled his relationship with his late wife, Anthea, whom he stabbed to death at Howick Falls on March 25, 2007.

But state advocate Dheelan Naidoo suggested to him during cross-examination later that his version — that he was a “victim” of the marriage — was a convenient way to try and explain his actions, and was a “pack of lies”.

Naidoo said it is also “convenient” that the only person who could dispute what he said is dead.

Govindsamy replied that he was simply explaining his life to the court.

He has pleaded not guilty to murder on grounds that he lacked criminal capacity.

“I really loved my wife,” he said yesterday, but added that he had “suffered” as a result of their marital problems.

Govindsamy earlier testified that he had to “live like a dog” in the garage in the year before Anthea’s death, as this was the only way he could maintain contact with his children after she insisted he move out of the house or she would leave with his children.

“I told her I would rather die and I went to the garage to hang myself,” he told Judge Esther Steyn and two assessors. He said Anthea stopped him and it was then agreed that he would live in the garage and “stay out of her way”, but that he could continue to parent the children.

The room where he stayed had no toilet nor bathroom, no windows, a concrete floor and his only furniture was a “broken-down couch”. Meanwhile he continued to pay the house bond, rates, electricity and water bills.

“I was living in a daze. I felt like a dog. I would sleep, get up, take the children to school, come back to my room and just sleep. “ He said that when the children returned from school, he would spend some time playing with them, but the maid would see to their bath.

When Anthea came home he would “disappear”, but was “allowed” back into the house to “read for a few minutes and say goodnight” to his sons.

Govindsamy said he couldn’t go to work, felt “helpless”, and was admitted to the psychiatric unit of Edendale Hospital and Town Hill Hospital for depression. He also drank heavily and smoked as much as R300 worth of cocaine daily.

Despite that, he never felt angry towards Anthea.

Govindsamy alleged that Anthea blamed him when they found out their eldest son had a neurodegenerative disease, as she had read that the male was the carrier of the “defective gene”.

After this she started to change towards him and distanced herself from him and the children. She stopped sleeping with him.

Govindsamy said he felt he had to “fix everything”, and that he saw to all the children’s daily needs. By 2004 his wife had enrolled in Unisa and “drowned herself” in her studies.

He later suspected her of having an affair as he found contraceptives in her possession.

In September 2005 she told him she wanted a divorce.

Govindsamy disputed the evidence given by Anthea’s close friend, Geraldine Govindsamy, that he threatened to kill her and Anthea during a confrontation shortly before Christmas 2006.

Govindsamy’s cross-examination will resume on Monday after the state has consulted with a panel of psychiatrists.

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