Vather case: ‘I’m not a monster, but people think i am’

2008-04-25 00:00

Wife-murder accused Nico Vather testified yesterday that he is “not a monster”, but said people perceive him to be one because of his past.

He was reacting to a statement made by his late wife, Valentia Vather, in an affidavit submitted to court prior to her death in support of an application for an interdict against Vather obtained by the woman he alleges was his mistress — Yasmin Shaik — and members of her family.

The interdict was obtained in September 2005. Valentia was found stabbed to death in her Prestbury flatlet on November 3, 2005.

Vather testified that the contents of his late wife’s affidavit were “fiction” and said she had made it to “help Yasmin”.

He said that although Valentia had a “profound love” for him and always took him back, she was angry at the time because she had caught him out when he accompanied Shaik to Westville prison to visit two of her friends in jail.

He said that when he read Valentia’s comment yesterday that he had a “propensity to violence” and that she was aware of the “type of monster” he could turn into, he felt “hurt”. He denied he ever physically abused Valentia or threatened to kill her and her daughters, as she alleged in the affidavit.

In the affidavit she also stated that she had learned that Vather went around “broadcasting the fact that he is HIV-positive and has nothing to lose by doing whatever is necessary to achieve whatever aims he may have”.

Valentia stated Vather had a “tendency to brag” about what he had done; that he revealed to her that he had throttled Shaik at a secluded spot in the Lion Park area, but that she managed to escape; and he had also explained a plan to her that involved the extortion of money from Shaik.

The document quoted Valentia as stating she feared her husband and she was “naive” to think he could change the path of his life.

Vather has denied he murdered his wife, or that he confessed to various state witnesses that he did so. Under cross-examination by state advocate Dheelan Naidoo, he said that from the outset he believed Shaik had “something to do with” Valentia’s murder, because he left her alone with Valentia the night she died. Valentia called Shaik to the flat after she started to “rage on” about his affair with Shaik, he testified.

He told Judge Piet Koen and two assessors that a “heated debate” was taking place when he left the two women to go out drinking at the HQ Sports Bar, then had sex with a prostitute before visiting friends, Ricky Naidoo and Brian Singh. At their flat, he tried to commit suicide by jumping from their 12th-floor balcony because he felt “dirty” and “worthless”.

He also wrote two documents giving the two men “sole custody” of his and Valentia’s son, Micyle, and leaving his late mother’s estate to his child.

He denied that his exclusion of any mention of his wife in the documents indicated that he knew she was already dead.

Asked by Naidoo why he went to an escort agency that night, he responded, “I wanted to get a lady for myself”. Asked why it was necessary to see a prostitute when he was already having sex with both Shaik and his wife, according to his version, he responded: “You can’t treat your wife or a decent lady the same way you treat a prostitute”.

Vather said that when he arrived home in the early hours of November 3 and found his wife lying on the bed with blood on her neck, he did not know she was dead. He said he did not take a closer look or touch her, but she did not respond when he called out “Honey”.

Naidoo suggested that a “normal” reaction would have been to call for an ambulance immediately, and check her pulse, rather than go outside to tell Naidoo and Singh to call the police.

Vather was also asked why he did not immediately tell police that Shaik had been with his wife the night before. He said he told an Inspector Padayachee this, but no one else because he did not know “who to trust” and Shaik was a “powerful woman”.

The case is proceeding.

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