Durban - Double murder accused Jayendran Sewnath got more than he bargained for when a friend he had called to the witness stand in his defence implicated him in the crimes.
Adrian Veeran, 34, serving two life sentences for his role in the murders, testified on Friday that Sewnath had stabbed Kevindran Naidoo, 25, with a samurai sword and used a knife from his kitchen to kill Naidoo’s friend, Sebastian Chetty, 22.
In the public gallery of the Durban High Court, Naidoo’s mother, Orlean, wept as she listened to Veeran describe how her son was killed and his body tossed over the wall at Veeran’s house.
Veeran had pleaded guilty to the double murders in Chatsworth in August 2011, as well as to robbery with aggravating circumstances.
His friend, Sewnath, 36, who has pleaded not guilty, is defending himself after firing two Legal Aid lawyers, one after the other. He conceded last week that he committed an offence by helping Veeran clean up the crime scene and concealing evidence.
Sewnath’s defence has been that he was not at Veeran’s house at the time of the murders and that it was Veeran who had killed both men.
He said that when he went to the house later, he saw the blood in the passage and on the walls and helped Veeran wrap the bodies separately in sheets and toss them over the fence at the back of the house.
However, on Friday, Veeran, who was brought from Kokstad Prison, told the court that Sewnath was at his house at the time.
In his guilty plea, he had said Naidoo owed him money after buying a television set from him, and that he and Sewnath had plotted to rob him of his money and jewellery. When Naidoo and Chetty arrived at the house to pay the money he owed and to also buy two more television sets, the friends were lured into the house one at a time and killed.
On Friday, Veeran said he brought Naidoo into the house while Chetty waited in Naidoo’s car.
“Kevin walked into my child’s bedroom. The room was dark and (Sewnath) was already in the room. As Kevin stepped into the room, (Sewnath) had the sword and stabbed him. I grabbed Kevin when he started fighting back and jumped onto the bed. (Sewnath) proceeded to stab him several times,” he testified.
He told the court that Sewnath had asked him to call Chetty to the house because they could not leave him there while Naidoo’s body was lying inside.
“When he stepped into the room and saw Kevin’s body on the floor, he also started to fight. He wanted to get out of the room. (Sewnath) had a knife from the kitchen that he used to stab Sebastian several times,” Veeran said.
He also admitted that he tried strangling Chetty with a tie until it snapped.
Veeran told Judge Yvonne Mbatha that the murders were not planned.
He said that after the bodies were dumped over the fence into bushes, his wife arrived with Naidoo’s family, whom he thought were armed as he had heard the sound of baseball bats.
Veeran said Sewnath had run away by then and he went looking for him, first at his girlfriend’s house. He later found Sewnath at his mother’s house in Chatsworth.
“He told me to keep quiet and come into the yard. I heard his mom crying. (Sewnath) told her he stabbed two people and he took out Kevin’s jewellery from his pocket and R5 000 in cash. He told me he gave his mother R3 000.”
The court heard that Sewnath had asked his sister to fetch clothes for Veeran and to get rid of the blood-stained ones he had been wearing.
Veeran said they left together, walked to a train station and sat at a nearby park until early morning when Sewnath contacted his brother-in-law, a taxi driver, to give them a lift into town. The relative, Veeran said, warned them about the police searching for them.
They were dropped off at a lodge. Veeran said Sewnath’s sister stayed in touch with him and had warned Sewnath to stay at the lodge, but they left to go to Veeran’s cousin’s house in Merebank.
Veeran said it was Sewnath who asked his aunt if she could find a buyer for the jewellery and when it was sold Sewnath was given the money, not him.
Closing arguments will be heard this week.