Murder rocks quiet suburb

2019-08-28 15:00
Ascot Park, a quiet complex in Lincoln Meade, was rocked by a murder on Monday. PHOTO: google maps

Ascot Park, a quiet complex in Lincoln Meade, was rocked by a murder on Monday. PHOTO: google maps

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Beaten and strangled to death.

That is how Pietermaritzburg businesswoman Verusha Padayachee is believed to have been violently murdered at her home in Ascot Park in Lincoln Meade.

Padayachee’s body was discovered on Monday afternoon lying in the kitchen with her hands bound with cable ties above her head.

She is believed to have been severely assaulted and strangled.

The mother of one was alone in the house when the incident happened.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the gruesome discovery was made by Padayachee’s brother and a neighbour at about 5.30 pm.

Ngobese said officers will work tirelessly to find Padayachee’s killer.

A case of murder has been opened at the Alexandra police station. No arrests have been made yet.

According to relatives, Padayachee owned Reshape Health and Fitness Centre in Raisethorpe. She was also a lecturer at the Umgungundlovu TVET College. Speaking to The Witness on Tuesday, a distraught family member, who asked to remain unnamed, said the family became suspicious when they could not reach Padayachee on the phone on Monday afternoon.

Pietermaritzburg businesswoman Verusha Padayachee was found murdered in her home in Lincoln Meade on Monday.

The relative said three weeks ago, Padayachee had obtained an interdict preventing the man who many believe attacked her from entering her home. He said Padayachee, who had been living in fear in the last couple of months, had also alerted one of her friends to “contact her family in case she was not reachable on her cell phone”.

“Our worst nightmare came true,” said the relative.

“Her brother tried calling her and she was not answering. He came to the house after 5 pm and knew something wasn’t right. The state she was in is a picture he will never forget. The family is devastated. She didn’t deserve to die like this,” said the relative.

The relative said Padayachee was well known, loved and well accomplished in her business and career.

“It’s an absolute tragedy. It’s unfortunate that her child will now grow up without her mother,” the relative said.

The relative said they believe a man fled in Padayachee’s car, a white VW Polo. When The Witness arrived at the house on Tuesday morning, neighbours, who described the murder as “senseless and brutal”, were quietly speculating about what had happened.

Police were also seen combing the house for evidence.

A neighbour and friend who could not contain her emotions said she had last seen Padayachee driving into the complex on Monday afternoon.

“I went for a job around 5 pm and saw that her house was closed. When I returned, there were people outside her yard, and I heard that she had been murdered.”

The neighbour said Padayachee’s murder had left residents reeling with shock as it was the second tragedy to befall the complex after a resident committed suicide last week. “It’s such a quiet neighbourhood and it’s very safe. I have been living here for five years and we have never had a murder.”

Police are looking for Roland Pillay (pictured) in connection with the murder. Anyone with information on his whereabouts can contact Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthoko Ngobese on 082 826 8954 or the Alexandra police station on 033 845 7705.

An employee at the complex said he had seen a known man driving in and out of the complex. It is believed he had been to Padayachee’s home.

“He went in and 20 minutes later drove out and left. He even smiled and waved at me as he was driving out. I didn’t think anything was amiss.”

The employee said a few weeks ago, Padayachee had instructed security guards at the complex not to let the same man inside the property.

“She gave strict instructions that they [guards] should not open the gate for him,” the employee said.

Meanwhile, when the news of Padayachee’s death broke, her friends and family took to social media to pay their last respects.

Craig Stephen Sebastian said: “Rest in peace Veru. You really didn’t deserve this, and I hope justice is served.”

Woshen Padayachee wrote: “Thank you to all my sister’s friends. Do not remember how she was laid to rest but remember she was a fighter and was brave. Heaven’s gift is our loss. But trust in God’s grace.”

Family members said they could not locate her husband on Tuesday. The Witness was also unable to contact Padayachee’s husband for comment on Tuesday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder
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