KZN triple murder accused requests TV while in custody

Magistrate's Court (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
Magistrate's Court (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

The man accused of the murder of a Phoenix mother and her two daughters finally appeared in the Verulam Family Court on Tuesday after he fainted earlier while in the court's holding cells.

Collin Pillay, 45, has been charged with the murder of Jane Govender, 44, and her daughters Rackelle, 16, and Denisha, 22.

Govender's husband found her and Rackelle dead on Friday morning. Denisha's body was later found in a cupboard.

In court on Tuesday, Pillay's lawyer Chris Gounden argued against the State's application to have the accused held at the Phoenix police station's holding cells.

"He has a heart condition and there's no proper medical treatment at the Phoenix police station. There's also no TV," the lawyer said.

But the magistrate didn't take kindly to the submission and said the provision of a TV was "immaterial".

READ: KZN triple murder: Accused 'faints' while in holding cells

Gounden also told the court that his client had allegedly been assaulted at the Phoenix police station and was forced to make "certain statements" without his lawyer's consent.

"He was also made to sign blank pages," said Gounden.

He, instead, asked the court to allow Pillay to be kept in isolation at the Westville prison holding cells.

"There's a hospital at Westville," he added.

But the State wanted the accused to be held at the police station.

Prosecutor San Bhartu told the court that the investigating officer still had to follow up certain aspects relevant to bail, including the post mortem, the accused's phone records, forensic evidence and the verification of the accused's address.

The court also heard that there was a possibility of more arrests in the matter.

Address confirmation 

Magistrate Irfaan Khalil said there was no need for Pillay to be kept at the Phoenix police station while further investigations continued.

"His presence would not be necessary when verifying his address. I don't see why it would be necessary for him to be detained at Phoenix SAPS (SA Police Service) because of the possibility of further arrests," said Khalil.

The magistrate ordered that Pillay be held at Westville prison until his next appearance. The court also refused Pillay's application to be kept in isolation at Westville.

Earlier in the day, the accused collapsed in the dock.

Bhartu explained that Pillay suffered an anxiety attack before he could be brought into the dock and that the matter had to stand down to get him medical treatment.

"The accused was treated by paramedics and he was also placed on a drip. After he was treated, he then refused to be taken to hospital for further medical treatment," she said.

Khalil earlier dismissed the media's application for permission to publish photographs of Pillay, while in the dock, "until his safety matter was cleared".

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