Church friends murder grandmother

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Durban - The brother of an Umzinto woman who was stabbed to death by her church-going friends, believes that they should rot in jail.

Sushila Pillay, 53, was stabbed repeatedly at her Gandhinagar home in Umzinto two weeks ago.

Her two friends, Brian Govender, 41, and his wife, Rosemary, 31, are facing murder charges and are awaiting trial prisoners. They appeared in the local magistrate’s court and were remanded in custody.

Pillay's brother, Daniel Govender, of Umzinto, said words could not describe the anguish his family has experienced since the incident. “You ask yourself how a human being could do this to another human being.”

Govender said on the evening of December 4 at around 9.30pm, the Govender couple visited his sister's home.

“My sister runs a chicken tikka business in the area. On the day of the incident she closed shop just after 9pm and when she arrived home she found the couple standing at the driveway gate.

“Even though she and my brother-in-law (Nazir Ali Khan) were tired they still allowed the couple to come into their home and offered them tea.”

Govender said according to Khan the four sat in the lounge laughing and joking.

“A short while later Khan felt tired and he went into the bedroom to lie down, when he heard a cry from my sister (Sushila). When he ran to see what happened he found the woman standing over my sister who was sprawled on the lounge floor and was stabbing her repeatedly.”

Govender said Khan was attacked from behind by the husband.

“The couple sprayed pepper spray into my sister and brother in law’s eyes and began stabbing them repeatedly. Nazir knew there was not much he could do and pretended to be dead and this probably saved his life. The couple fell for his act and both began stabbing Sushila demanding money and documents.”

Govender said a year ago his sister had purchased the Govender’s relatives home.

“The couple were in and out of my sister's home since then. In the beginning of this year they asked my sister to lend them money to help build an outbuilding and were due to pay her in monthly instalments.”

Govender said he was uncertain of the amount of money they borrowed.

He said police went to the home of the couple, who also live in Gandhinagar, in the early hours of December 5.

They were led to a nearby river where their bloodied clothes and Sushila's identity book was found in a bag.

“Later that week sniffer dogs led police to the pepper spray and the weapon used in the murder.”

He said the incident had shocked residents.

“People from Umkomaas, right down to Umzinto, are still reeling from the shock and horror.

“My sister was killed in the most brutal manner. Her throat was slit end to end and her home was filled with blood.

“She had crawled out of the house trying to get help and her body was found at the door.”

Govender said his sister was a grandmother with two children – Rajendra and Samantha Pillay.

“My brother in law is still recovering in hospital.

“I don't know how he is going to move on with his life, knowing their own friends ruined their lives.”

Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed a case of murder and attempted murder.

“It is alleged that the couple was at their residence when the suspects visited them shortly after 10pm on December 4. Sometime during the visit it is alleged that there was an argument that led to the victims being attacked.

“‘Both victims sustained multiple stab wounds. Pillay died at the scene while Khan was rushed off to the GJ Crookes Hospital in Scottburgh in a serious condition.

“The suspects fled the scene prior to police arriving. Initial investigations led police to their residence in Gandhinagar where members of the local police and K9 Unit, arrested Brian Govender, 41, and his wife, Rosemary, 31, on December 5.

“‘The suspects allegedly led police to a nearby river where a black refuse bag containing a bloodied pair of gloves, two pairs of shoes, clothing and rags, was recovered.

“These are believed to have been the outfits worn by the suspects during the attack and were spattered with blood.

“The motive for the attack is yet to be confirmed and investigations continue.”

Naicker said the couple is expected to appear in court soon.

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