Man dies after cellphone rage incident

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Copy of ND CHATSWORTH CENTER2 (38937242)


Allan Reddy, who ran the family business with his father-in-law, Dave Pillay, was killed near his shop in Chatsworth Centre on Christmas Eve after bumping into a man and knocking his cellphone to the ground.

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A Durban businessman was killed after he accidentally bumped into a man talking on his cellphone at a crowded shopping mall on Christmas Eve.

The man allegedly became infuriated after his cellphone fell.

Allan Reddy, 49, owner of Konica Photo Express, in Chatsworth Centre, picked up the cellphone and handed it back to the man.

As he apparently apologised, Reddy was allegedly punched in the throat.

He hit his head on the aluminium frame of a shop window as he fell.


A funeral notice was posted outside Allan Reddys store in Chatsworth Centre. Picture: Siyanda Mayeza


Reddy died before paramedics could arrive.

A suspect was arrested by on-lookers as he reportedly attempted to flee the scene.

Reddy’s father-in-law, Dave Pillay, was at the family shop at the time.

He said staff alerted him to the commotion. Pillay said Reddy had gone out to check on staff working elsewhere in the centre.

“We had two photographic booths set up in the centre, each with a Father Christmas. It’s a very busy time for us and Allan had gone to see if everything was running smoothly.”

Pillay said several witnesses had come forward and given statements to police.

“All we know at this stage is that as Allan was walking out of the shop he accidentally bumped into a man who was talking on his cellphone.”

Pillay said the cellphone fell and Reddy had picked it up and handed it back to the man.

“A witness told me that as Allan gave the phone back, he apologised to the man. But he was punched in the throat and could not breathe.”

As he fell to the ground, he hit his head on the aluminium frame of a shop window, Pillay said.

He said the centre management responded immediately.

“I watched as people tried to save his life. I was deeply moved when Rubecca Khan (senior portfolio manager at the centre) performed CPR on Allan,” Pillay said.

“But it was too late. He died almost instantly. I was shocked to see him lying dead on the floor...”

He said after the man punched Reddy, he attempted to flee.

“Some shop owners and customers chased after him and held him until police arrived.”

Pillay said it was unclear at this stage what had caused Reddy’s death. The family has engaged the services of independent forensic pathologist, Dr Reggie Perumal, to determine it.

“We need to know how he died – did he suffocate to death because of the blow to his throat or was it because he hit his head?”

Pillay said they were upset at Reddy’s violent death.

“Since his death there has been so much of speculation about what happened. But we are not focusing on any of it. Police are investigating. There is also CCTV footage available. I am sure the truth will be revealed in time about what really happened.”

Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the man was expected to appear in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on Friday on a charge of murder. He said the motive was unknown.

Reddy’s funeral service took place in Chatsworth on Thursday.

Pillay said on Christmas Day, Reddy would have celebrated his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Sandra.

At the funeral, Reddy’s children – Darshan, 23 and Priya, 19 – paid tribute to their father.

The tribute was read out by family friend, Kriba Vapuri.

Part of it read: “It was impossible to be angry with you because you were so lovable, we miss you every second.

“It is sad that you have suffered such a tragic death… that is still hard on all of us,” he said.

At the Clare Estate Crematorium, Terry Maharaj, a family friend, said they just wanted justice to prevail.

Tenants at the Chatsworth Centre also expressed shock and outrage at Reddy’s death.

Many said the mall was crowded at the time and they had not seen what happened.

Khan said the incident took place at about noon.

“Paramedics declared Allan dead at the scene. Allan’s family was present at the time of the incident.”

She said the shop was a family business and would have celebrated its 25th year in operation in 2014.

Perumal confirmed he had been hired by the family.

He said the post-mortem was conducted on Thursday morning.

“I haven’t met the family as yet. I’m giving them time to mourn and will meet them in the new year to give them a more accurate cause of death,” he said.

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