Poorun trial: ‘Murder victim was abusive’

2010-03-31 00:00

ALTHOUGH murder victim Sandesh Poorun wanted to be with Kalisha Rajcoomar — the mother of his child — he did not want to marry her, nor did he want her to get on with her life.

This was said yesterday by Rajcoomar’s grandmother, Dolly Pillay, who gave evidence on her grand-daughter’s behalf before Judge Pete Koen in the high court in Pietermaritzburg.

Rajcoomar (23) and her husband, Amith Sewkarran (26) — whom she married in secret — stand convicted of having murdered Poorun in February last year.

The couple admitted that they strangled Poorun at a bed-and-breakfast in Scottsville after spiking his drinks with Mandrax, and later drove to the outskirts of town where they burned the body.

They alleged in statements to court that they acted out of desperation as Poorun had threatened and harassed them and made their lives unbearable.

Poorun and Rajcoomar’s daughter — who has been brought to court on each occasion by family members to visit her mother — is turning two today.

Pillay and Rajcoomar’s aunt, Priscilla Naidoo, told the court that Rajcoomar had left her parental home and came to live with each of them in turns during the course of 2005 and 2006 in order to escape from Poorun.

They alleged Poorun made life “miserable” for Rajcoomar and her family.

The women described scenes when Poorun had come to fight with Rajcoomar. They alleged that he swore and used obscene language at their homes and in neighbour’s yards, and physically assaulted Rajcoomar.

Naidoo said that because of the problems Poorun caused at their home, she and her husband asked Rajcoomar to leave and she went to stay with Pillay.

Under cross-examination, Naidoo said she never opened a case with police against Poorun as she would have had to testify in court and she was not well at the time.

Pillay said that when Rajcoomar came to live with her in 2006, she had told her that “Sandesh was giving her endless problems”.

She said Poorun had come to her home to see Rajcoomar on various occasions and although at times “he was good”, at others he was very abusive to Rajcoomar, verbally and physically.

“He didn’t want her to get on with her life. He just wanted to be with her, but he didn’t want to marry her,” she said.

Pillay said tht one night in December 2008, when the baby was nine months old, Poorun arrived, sat on Sewkarran’s car (which was parked outside) and banged on the bonnet while calling Rajcoomar.

When she went to the gate, he grabbed her by her hair and dragged her outside and assaulted her, said Pillay. She said Sewkarran was in the house at the time, but did not go out.

“He hit her and she tried to defend herself,” said Pillay.

She said that on a previous occasion, Poorun arrived in the company of his father who sat in the car. Poorun entered the house and “started hitting Kalisha”.

She said she was aware Rajcoomar had obtained a protection order against Poorun following that incident.

Pillay confirmed yesterday that Rajcoomar’s family became aware that Rajcoomar and Sewkarran had married only after Poorun was killed. She did not know why Rajcoomar kept the marriage secret.

Pillay said Rajcoomar had “loved Sandesh a lot” and said it was sad when she fell pregnant and he did not want the baby because he was afraid of his family.

“To this day his [Poorun’s] family has not bought a tin of milk for the baby. They haven’t come to see the baby to know whether she’s alive or dead … they don’t care,” said Pillay.

The case was adjourned until October 25.

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