My daughter's killer is a pathological liar - grieving dad

2015-09-04 20:49
Anthony Strauss hides his face from the media as he is led out of the Randburg Magistrate's Court. (Naledi Shange, News24)

Anthony Strauss hides his face from the media as he is led out of the Randburg Magistrate's Court. (Naledi Shange, News24)

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Johannesburg - The father of a woman who was killed by a man to whom she had opened her home, on Friday labelled her killer a pathological liar.

"He planned everything. It was premeditated. He is very intelligent. He knew what he was doing. He doesn't seem like he was someone who was drugged and lost it at the last moment," said Nad Govender.

He and his family and friends had come to the Randburg Magistrate's Court dressed in black T-shirts with the slogan #JusticeForLerusha printed on them.

They had spent several days listening to the harrowing testimony by Anthony Strauss on why he tied an electrical cord around Lerusha's neck and choked her to death.

Strauss had been hired by Govender in December last year to build kitchen cupboards at her house in Paulshof, Johannesburg.

He testified that he strangled her on December 30 in a fit of rage after the two of them had had an exchange of words following a disagreement on payment.

Testifying on Friday, Strauss maintained that he had not meant to kill her.

Drug addict

Under cross-examination by Nerisha Naidoo, Strauss admitted to being a drug addict for years. He told the court that he had used drugs on several occasions on the day he killed Govender.

Strauss's cellphone records were brought in as part of the evidence on the day and it was revealed that he had spent the day making phone calls to his Nigerian drug dealers as well as his girlfriend Lilla Shaw.

Shaw had introduced Govender to Strauss and recommended him for the job.

It was understood that Strauss had strangled and killed Govender and then covered her with a duvet.

He spent several hours at her home after killing her and left in her sports car the next morning.

Govender's body was later discovered at her home by her brother. 

'Gold mine for you'

Strauss's records revealed that after he left Govender's home, he had made calls to his dealers and a pawn shop.

Naidoo accused Strauss of having planned to kill Govender from December 24, when he first started working for her. During the time he worked for Govender, he was living on her property.

Naidoo said communication between Strauss and his Nigerian drug dealers increased significantly after he secured the job at the Govenders because he had an intention of pawning her property.

"That is not true," replied the tall, dark-haired man.

"You saw this young Indian girl, single, living on her own, as a gold mine for you? You saw this as a source of getting money," Naidoo put it to Strauss.

He again denied this.

'I think he should rot in jail'

Strauss told the court that he never took anything but Govender's car from the property. He explained that he was forced to hand over Govender's car to one of his drug dealers because he owed him R400. They had struck a deal that he would get the car back once he had paid his debt.

In his testimony throughout the last few days, Strauss said he had been belittled by Govender.

He claimed that she had called him "boy" on more than one occasion and she had made him tie her shoe laces.

Strauss also said that while Govender had agreed to him staying on her property, she was unkind to him. He claimed to have slept in the outside toilet for two days because the room outside her property had had building material in it.

Naidoo, however, told the court that Strauss had killed Naidoo because he was jealous of her success.

Strauss was arrested at his aunt's home in Alberton on January 3.

The state and defence have both closed their cases and were expected to hand in their heads of argument. These would then be heard on September 10.

Meanwhile, Nad Govender said he hoped justice would prevail.

"I think he should rot in jail for the rest of his natural life," said Govender, adding that he was not ready to forgive Strauss. 

"No parent should have to bury a child. It's not the natural order of things," he said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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