Toilet murder hearing delayed

2009-11-11 00:00

THE trial of a Durban grandmother, Romila Singh (55), who is charged with the murder of her daughter-in-law, Fiona Khader (27), in February this year, has been delayed as Singh wishes to apply for legal aid.

The trial was due to be heard in the high court in Pietermaritzburg in the course of this week, but has been postponed until June 7, 2010, in order to give Singh time to finalise her legal representation.

Judge Pete Koen was informed that she also intends to lodge a bail appeal in the high court pending the trial.

She was refused bail by Pietermaritzburg magistrate Zoh Dlamini in April.

The slightly built accused spoke to members of her family from the dock while waiting for the proceedings to get under way.

The state alleges that Singh arranged to have her daughter-in-law murdered and led her to the spot where she was overpowered, throttled and stabbed three times by her assailant or assailants in a toilet at Ganies Corner flats in Pietermaritzburg on February 24.

It is alleged that her motive was her fear that if her son, Riaz Khan (who left Khader for another woman in 2007), granted Khader the divorce she wanted, she would move to another home with her two children.

Khader had also allegedly become involved in a secret relationship with a Pakistani citizen, Abdul Khan, of which Singh did not approve.

Investigating officer Inspector Swami Pillay gave evidence at Singh’s bail application earlier this year that CCTV video footage had captured Khader entering the block of flats where she was found murdered, in the company of her mother-in-law about 40 minutes before she was killed.

They were closely followed by an unknown black male who was seen entering and leaving the premises in close proximity to Singh “four or five times”.

He also alleged at the bail hearing that Singh had tried to create an alibi for herself for the time of the murder by lodging a false robbery complaint with police in Durban.

She allegedly told police she had been robbed of her handbag in central Durban at 11 am.

The bag was recovered from her flat in Beatrice Street during a search.

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