HAPPIER TIMES: Taariq Phillips, 24, and Sharisha Chauhan, 21, while they were still a couple. Phillips is the accused in her murder case.
Cape Town - Sharisha Chauhan, a 21-year-old law student who is alleged to have died of a drug overdose at a rave party in Paarl, was not seen taking any drugs. This is according to her cousin, Vanika Lalloo, who was with Chauhan that night.

Lalloo, 23, was testifying before the Western Cape High Court in the trial of her cousin’s boyfriend for her murder.

Chauhan attended a rave party on New Year’s Eve in 2013 with her boyfriend - the accused in the trial - Taariq Phillips. It is alleged that at around midnight, Phillips, Chauhan and some friends - including Lalloo - took ecstacy or LSD, commonly known as acid.

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Chauhan was rushed to the Paarl MediClinic where she died on January 1, 2014. It was found that she had been raped.

Lalloo, who had initially called Chauhan’s mother while the deceased was still in hospital and admitted that they had taken drugs, told the court on Wednesday she assumed Chauhan had also taken drugs, as had been alleged by the group of friends.

She said the drugs were bought by Phillips on the dance floor from a man with a moon bag.

“We had all stopped at the bathroom where we discussed having MDMA (ecstacy). I assumed that we all took drugs, but I didn’t physically see everyone taking it. I never saw Sharisha take LSD or MDMA that night,” she said.

She said the LSD was handed to her in a perforated sheet by Chauhan, who must have got it from Phillips, while the ecstasy came in a transparent, cream-coloured capsule.

State pathologist Dr Deidre Abrahams said in her report the cause of death was consistent with manual strangulation and the consequences thereof.

In her testimony, Abrahams told the court there was no clear evidence of a toxin which may have caused a death on its own. She concluded that a substance may have played a contributory role.

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Cape Argus