Northdale man pleads guilty in rental deposit murder case

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Anesh Mewalall will be sentenced next week for the murder of Shamendra Pillay.
Anesh Mewalall will be sentenced next week for the murder of Shamendra Pillay.
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Anesh Mewalall stabbed Shamendra Pillay in Northdale last year in the presence of his deaf daughter who could not even scream for help.

State prosecutor Sally Singh on Friday urged Pietermaritzburg magistrate Rose Magwera to hand Mewalall (37) a stiff sentence.

He pleaded guilty this week to stabbing Pillay (35) in the neck on July 26 last year at the Village Mall parking lot in Northdale.

Mewalall said that he had an argument with Pillay regarding a rental deposit refund that he wanted from Pillay. The argument became very heated to the point of vulgarity. Threats were made by both of them, confessed Mewalall.

He said that he became very angry and full of rage. He then pulled out a knife. Pillay, he added, pulled out a sjambok from his vehicle. He said he then lunged forward and stabbed Pillay.

“She could not scream for help for anyone to help her dad. That hurts me more than anything.”
Lee-Ann Pillay, wife of Shamendra Pillay

Mewalall added that he threw the knife on the floor and ran away.

Singh read a victim impact statement made by Pillay’s wife, Lee-Ann, in aggravation of sentencing. Lee-Ann said that their daughter was 12-years-old at the time when she watched her father die.

She said that when Mewalall stabbed her husband in front of their child, he did not even think about the impact it would have on her.

Her daughter was “helpless”, she said, adding that she can’t talk or hear.

“She could not scream for help for anyone to help her dad. That hurts me more than anything.”

“She is so afraid to go anywhere because she feels she can see the man who murdered her father”.
Lee-Ann Pillay

Lee-Ann said her daughter goes for counselling at school because her grades have dropped. She can’t focus. She wakes up every night crying for her dad.

She is “so afraid to go anywhere because she feels she can see the man who murdered her father”.

The couple also have another daughter who was nine months old at the time. “My kids are never going to know what it is like to have a dad around to protect and care for them.”

Lee-Ann said her daughter is very afraid of Mewalall and “a child with her disability has enough to deal with”.

She appealed to the court to impose a harsh sentence on Mewalall.

READ: Pietermaritzburg man pleads guilty after killing in row over rent

“This sentence will definitely not bring my husband back, but it is hope that it will keep the defendant [Mewalall] from committing this crime again, either on me or my children or anyone else for that matter,” she said.

Mewalall’s attorney, Clive Turton, was asked again by the magistrate what the mitigating factors are. He highlighted his client’s personal circumstances. He said Mewalall had struggled to complete Grade 11, is married and has a 10-year-old son.

His wife is currently temporarily employed and he was self-employed prior to his arrest as a home maintenance person. He also has no criminal record and has been in custody since his arrest last year.

Turton said he pleaded guilty and is remorseful. Sentencing takes place next week.


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