'I wanted my child back' - father of Sadia Sukhraj testifies as trial begins

2019-02-12 19:26
Sadia Sukhraj.

Sadia Sukhraj. (Supplied)

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The father of slain 9-year-old Sadia Sukhraj delivered emotional testimony in the Pietermaritzburg High Court in Durban on Tuesday.

Detailing his version of events before Judge Esther Steyn, a tearful Shailendra Sukhraj painted a picture of a father who was merely trying to save his little girl.

It is alleged that Sibonelo Mkhize killed Sukhraj during a botched hijacking in Shallcross, Chatsworth, in Durban on May 28, 2018. He pleaded not guilty to murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Mkhize's alleged accomplice, Siyabonga Bulose, was killed while fleeing from the scene.

Sukhraj said that it was a normal morning when they headed to school on that fateful day on May 28, when his family was attacked.

"We live very close to my in-laws. We dropped off our smallest, Jaziel, who was six months old at the time. As we were walking out, I heard my wife gasp: 'Oh my God!'"

He said they were confronted by two men – one wielding a gun – and they demanded the keys to his Hyundai Tucson.

"They were just a few metres from me. I tossed my keys to him."

Chaos and despair

Sukhraj said the men then attempted to reverse out of the below-road-level driveway when they crashed into the gate.

Struck by despair and concern for little Sadia, who was still in the car, he pulled out his firearm.

"Before I fired, there were a million things that crossed [my] mind as a father. I was afraid of losing my child to murder, rape, human trafficking or mutilation. I just wanted my child back. I drew my firearm and shot at the driver."

He said the assailant crashed as he reversed out the driveway. The father then jumped into a passerby's car hoping to locate his now kidnapped daughter.

The end of an innocent life

After failing to locate the car, he realised he could use a tracker app and find the vehicle. He went to the scene and was told his daughter had been shot. He then went to the hospital that she had been taken to.

"When I got there, the first people I saw was my wife and brother-in-law," he said as tears rolled down his eyes.

Sukhraj said his family was "very emotional".

"I was told that the doctors were working on Sadia. Little did I know she had already passed on."

Breaking down on the stand, he said that he eventually insisted on seeing his daughter.

"The doctor on call then came to me and informed me that Sadia passed away. I was then allowed to see her. I saw a lifeless body on the stretcher and I could not believe that this child was taken away from me in seconds."

The trial continues on Wednesday.

Read more on:    sadia sukhraj  |  durban  |  crime
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