‘My son is sorry for petrol bombing’

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Ghumman may 17

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Shumsheer Ghumman at the Cape Town Magistrates Court. Photo: Thomas Holder

The UK fund manager who came to Cape Town to find a hitman to kill his love interest’s father apologised to his mother for the grief he had caused the Clifton family, the Cape Town Regional Court has heard.

Convicted stalker Shumsheer Singh Ghumman’s mother, Nirmal, testified in mitigation of her son’s sentence on Wednesday.

The mother of two said the crimes her son was convicted of were out of character.

In March, magistrate Herman Pieters convicted Ghumman of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, fraud and malicious damage to property.

Pieters had found that Ghumman came to Cape Town – soon after being convicted of harassment in the UK – “with the plan to cause harm to, at least, Philip Rhind”.

Ghumman fancied Rhind’s daughter, Hannah, but when she felt that his contact had became too much she told her father, who took the matter to a London court, where Ghumman was convicted of harassment.

“I think (the convictions) are totally out of character. I hope that what happened has taught him (Ghumman) that you cannot take the law into your own hands,” Nirmal Ghumman said.

Under cross-examination by State advocate Billy Downer, Nirmal Ghumman said her son was sorry.

“Yes. I feel that he realises his whole world has changed from that one act. He is sorry for petrol bombing the (Rhinds’) house (in January last year).”

“He told me so,” she said.

The second defence witness to take the stand was clinical psychologist Martin Yodaiken.

He testified that Ghumman was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) at the age of 16 and still suffered from adult ADHD. He described Ghumman as narcissistic.

“Ghumman had an added disadvantage that he was extremely intelligent and would finish tasks faster, get bored and then ADHD will take over,” Yodaiken said.

He said Ghumman had been in jail for about 15 months and that his time behind bars did not serve his rehabilitation.

About a sentence, Yodaiken said: “I would like to see mediation (between Rhind and Ghumman). Lengthy community service is the kind of retribution I will recommend. It is unlikely that Ghumman will benefit from incarceration”.

Pre-sentence proceedings continue on Friday.

jade.witten@inl.co.za

Cape Argus


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