Insure your car, home and valuables with iWYZE
“I only helped dispose of the body and played no part in the killing.”
This was the sensational claim of Richards Bay teenager Keegan Govender accused of masterminding the murder of Gansen Gounden.
This evidence emerged in the Mtunzini High Court yesterday (Tuesday) when Govender, 19, testified in his defence.
He is accused of killing his lover’s alleged molester, Gounden, 37, because he fondled her breasts and private parts.
Govender, who was in matric at the time, is accused of hitting Gounden with a spade, burying him alive under a mango tree, exhuming his body four days later and throwing it into the crocodile-infested Enseleni River. He pleaded not guilty and is in police custody.
His lover, Michelle Nadasen, 25, claimed she played a diminished role in the murder and Govender was the mastermind. She was sentenced in January 2010 to 25 years behind bars.
However, Govender told the packed court he had no knowledge of the murder and only transported the body to the river. He said he felt compelled to help get rid of the body after Nadasen, whom he had been dating for five months, told him she loved him and wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. “She also promised to tell me everything after the body was disposed.”
Govender said the day the murder took place (January 3) he spent the day at the beach with his father, brother and sister's child. He said around 2pm he went to the van to check on his cellphone and saw numerous missed calls from Nadasen.
“I called her and she said she needed to see me but the call got cut because my airtime was finished.” He said he later saw his friend, Brandon, and then went to Nadasen’s home.
“I found her standing outside crying. She told me Gansen had forced himself on her and touched her. I asked her if she told her sister and father and she said she did.”
Govender said he went home after hearing the allegations as his father allowed him to be away from home for an hour. Nadasen claimed, in her earlier testimony, Govender slept at her home from January 3 to 7 and spent every moment with her.
Nadasen’s father, Ram Reddy, also testified that Govender slept at his house.
Govender said from January 4 to 6 he spent his days working at his father's take-away in Empangeni. “I saw Michelle every afternoon, but I did not stay at her home.”
He claimed on January 7, the day the body was exhumed, he did not attend work because the matric results were being released. He said later that day he received a call from Michelle asking if he could get a van.
Govender, who was driving his father’s van at the time doing chores, went to Michelle’s house. “They (Michelle and her sister Gino) told me they could trust me and they had a body to dispose of and that they would tell me everything thereafter.”
Govender said both sisters helped him carry the bin which contained the body to the van and Gino ordered they bring the bin back as they did not have another one. “When I arrived on the N2 bridge Michelle and I offloaded the bin.”
Govender told the court he could not see whose body was in the bin because it was dark.
He said when they returned to Brackenham they found a police car and a few other vehicles parked outside Michelle's home. “I began to panic. I was shocked because I did not know what was happening.”
Govender said he stopped near a mosque when Michelle’s uncles and a police officer arrived.
“When they asked me where the body was I told Michelle to tell them. I told them Gino and Michelle had asked me to transport the bin.” He said he was taken to the back of the house and asked to dig a hole. Govender said his rights were not explained at the scene.