Durban — The 17-year-old daughter of a man on trial in the Durban High Court for allegedly setting his family alight in their Phoenix home hugged her father while in tears after testifying.
The two engaged in a tearful embrace at tea- time after the teen had led evidence of the night that her mother and siblings in 2021 perished in the fire..
Chetty is charged with the 2021 murders of his wife Elisha Naidoo, 39, his 13-year-old daughter Jadene, 9-year-old son Jordan, 8-year-old daughter Aarav and 3-year-old son Aldrin.
At the time of the incident, the family lived in a room that they had rented at a house on Kidstone Place, Phoenix.
Chetty’s brother-in-law, Deon Naidoo, and his family lived in the main house on the same property as the deceased.
The six counts of attempted murder that Chetty is charged with are in relation to Naidoo and his family, and these included four minor children.
It is alleged that on the day before the murders, 57-year-old Chetty was chased away from the house after allegedly being violent towards his wife and her brother.
The man is alleged to have continued to harass the occupants of the house wanting to be allowed back into the house.
His daughter Jaden, now deceased, allegedly let her father in during the wee hours of the morning when his family was asleep in the room they rented and Naidoo’s family was asleep in the lounge.
On the stand, Chetty’s daughter said the whole day her mother and father were arguing.
“In the night they were still fighting, my uncle (Deon) and my father were fighting and hitting each other. Mom was trying to separate them.
“Dad went away and came back after a long time then they started fighting again with my mother and my uncle Deon was still there.
“Me and mom pushed dad outside and locked him (out). He started banging the windows. He had a bush knife with him. My mom said she would call the police thinking he'd stop banging windows. I fell asleep after that, and the next thing the house was on fire, and my mom and sister were burning, I didn't see how the fire started.”
The teen who can’t be named as she is a minor, told the court when she woke to the house on fire she saw her father trying to put the fire out outside the bedroom window.
“When I left the house the sofas next to the door of the bedroom, where Deon was sleeping, were on fire.”
From the moment the teen walked into the courtroom to testify she began crying and was in tears for most of her testimony and told the court the reason she was crying was because this was the first time she was seeing her father after the incident.
“Life has not been easy since the incident, losing my mother and my father. I’ve been moving around, from my father's sister then to my mom's sister. I miss him because he's my father.”
She told the court that her father and uncle often fought because her uncle would give her mother money for groceries and then ask for it back.
She said that her father did not like her uncle living with them, adding that they would fight physically and her father would lose the fight as her uncle was stronger.
The trial continues.
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