Mental watch for matricide accused

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Copy of iol news pic knife_stab . File photo

Durban - A Durban man is to undergo mental observation at Fort Napier Hospital, the mental health facility in Pietermaritzburg, in June.

Sumeet Ruggunan, 23, is accused of fatally stabbing his mother, Premdevi, 62, at her Clare Estate home in June.

It is alleged he had had an argument with her.

When police arrived at the scene, they allegedly found Ruggunan standing over the body with a knife in his hand and a cigarette in his mouth.

Ruggunan appeared briefly in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Friday. He has been detained at the Westville Prison Hospital while awaiting a place at Fort Napier Hospital.

In June, prosecutor Blackie Swart told the court that because of the seriousness of the charge, Ruggunan would have to be assessed by at least two state psychologists.

District surgeon, Dr Savvas Antoniandes, examined Ruggunan at Addington Hospital on June 14. He submitted his observations to the court.

He said Ruggunan was examined to ascertain if he had the capacity to understand criminal proceedings and to appreciate the wrongfulness of the act he allegedly committed.

Antoniandes concluded that Ruggunan “does not appear to understand what he did to his mother, even though he can factually recall events of stabbing his mother in the back four to five times”.

“He claims to have done this over an argument.

“He attributes what happened to hysteria and doesn’t know if his mum will come back even though he says she was taken to the mortuary,” read the district surgeon’s affidavit.

Ruggunan has been awaiting a bed at the mental health institution and has abandoned his bail application. On Friday, the court heard that a place had been found for him, but it would be available in June.

In the meantime, he was to be held at the Westville Prison Hospital for his safety and that of other inmates.

His demeanour has been erratic during his many court appearances, which led to the call for mental observation.

He is to briefly appear again in court next month.

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