Two suspects in Nerputh case

2020-01-27 09:07
Businesswoman Kavitha Nerputh. (Ian Carbutt, Media24, Witness Media, file)

Businesswoman Kavitha Nerputh. (Ian Carbutt, Media24, Witness Media, file)

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An onslaught of harassment, threatening telephone calls and messages since August 2019 that intensified in the past week, led slain Pietermaritzburg businesswoman Kavitha Nerputh to seek help from police.

This was a desperate bid to protect herself and her family just hours before she was murdered on Monday.

Nerputh feared for her life and had laid new criminal charges on the morning of the day she died.

Weekend Witness can reveal Nerputh, who was found strangled to death in her Audi Q7 in Alexandra Park on Monday evening, had opened a case at Mountain Rise police station against two people known to her. She told police on Monday that she had been sent threatening cellphone messages.

The names of the people she opened the case against are known to Weekend Witness, but they cannot be identified because they have not been charged.

Mountain Rise SAPS station commander Brigadier Boxer Pillay confirmed that she had opened a case relating to the threats at the police station on Sunday and again visited the station on Monday for an update on the matter.

While the details of whom the case was opened against are known to Weekend Witness, it is being withheld so as to not jeopardise the investigation.

Nerputh (41) was found to have been strangled to death inside her car at Alexandra Park on Monday evening. It is believed she was strangled with cell phone charging cable.

Police had to smash through the car’s passenger side window to get to her. Attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

Her family became concerned about her when she failed to contact them at 5 pm as she usually did. An extended family member reported that they had seen Nerputh at about 4 pm passing a fuel station in Chief Albert Luthuli Street, going towards the Alexandra Park and that an unidentified person was in the vehicle with her.

Nerputh’s children previously told The Witness she was being threatened in the lead up to her death, and Nerputh was said to be extremely scared and emotional the day before her death.

No arrests have been made yet.

Nerputh’s funeral was held on Wednesday in Pietermaritzburg and her ashes were dispersed in the sea near Isipingo beach — her favourite seaside spot.

‘Unsure’ about opening case

A well-placed source confirmed that an anxious and nervous Nerputh had arrived at the police station on January 19 (Sunday) and opened the case, but seemed extremely concerned about the repercussions of doing so.

Nerputh, in that statement, alleged that two people, known to her, had since August 2019 until Sunday, been sending her threatening messages on her cellphone (from their cellphones) as well as calling and threatening her.

“She came across as being double-minded and hesitant about the case and kept convincing herself that she had to do so to put an end to all the threats that had been going on.

“It is believed in the past week that the calls and messages had intensified. Even after the case was opened, 30 minutes later, she wanted to withdraw it but was told she could not,” said the source, adding that Nerputh appeared extremely agitated again on Monday, when she returned to the station — just hours before her death.

“She wanted to chat to someone who could help her and provide her with advice. She was referred to a senior female officer who spent some time with her. Again, she wanted to withdraw the charge based on her fear of what could happen. She was very doubtful as to whether she should proceed but at the same time knew she had to,” said the source.

Sources close to the investigation said they were going through all the evidence and history of the case carefully as it involved “complex and complicated issues”.

‘Senior officers assisted her’

Mountain Rise Station Commander Boxer Pillay denied allegations that Nerputh had not been attended to at the station and afforded police intervention, saying she had been attended to by senior female officers who had spoken to her at length in relation to the case.

“While I cannot reveal the exact allegations made in the statement as the matter is now subject to a murder investigation, I can confirm that Nerputh was at the [police] station and did, indeed receive assistance. An official case was opened and is registered on our systems,” said Pillay.

It has also now come to light that the Mountain Rise CPF knew for some time that Nerputh lived in constant fear for her life, but several attempts by the CPF to get her to attend meetings and detail her concerns were apparently unsuccessful. It has now emerged that Mountain Rise police station and its CPF had tried since April last year to reach out to Nerputh, but to no avail.

Venolin Govender, the war room chairperson for ward 31, said: “Mountain Rise police station does have its problems, but I doubt they would have not helped her if it was a conspiracy to commit murder case. But she told us she had an attorney and she will deal with whatever problem she had.

“We tried numerous times to meet with her but she never came to our meetings. Every time someone came to my war room meetings needing victim support we never turned them away. Mountain Rise seniors have an open door policy.” 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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