Durban - A MAN accused of murdering his wife and setting their home alight could be referred for a mental assessment.

This emerged in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court yesterday when Magistrate Rajesh Parshotam asked the defence to address him on the mental state of Kasilal Singh, who is charged with the murder of his wife Avina.

“I’d like you to address this aspect with regard to the murder charge and arson with a view to referring the accused to Fort Napier,” said Parshotam.

The case was adjourned to May 30 for bail argument.

Singh is alleged to have slit his wife’s throat before setting alight their Phoenix home on May 3.

He handed himself over to Durban North police four days later, claiming not to know about his wife’s death. He said he had been hijacked on his way to Tongaat and dumped in bushes.

Leading evidence, the case investigating officer, Warrant Officer Kippie Pillay, said on the day of the murder Singh had phoned his wife and begged her to come home.

They had been separated for three weeks.

Pillay said his investigations revealed Singh was violent and abusive - he had broken one of his wife’s hands and even tried to saw it off.

Avina took her children to school on the day she was killed. Surveillance camera footage showed her leaving her brother’s house in Phoenix - where she had been living - at 9.30am, returning 20 minutes later and leaving again at 10.30am. She did not return.

Pillay said neighbours saw the home on fire and phoned Singh; he said he was coming but never arrived.

“The fire department put out the fire. They had to force their way in. The gate was locked. Inside they found the body covered in material. Clothes were strewn all over.

“On closer examination, I saw multiple injuries,” said Pillay.

He said a post-mortem revealed Avina had blunt force trauma to the head. An iron cord was around her neck, her throat had a deep, open wound of 10cm-15cm and she had wounds on her palms.

“On Sunday (May 5) we found her car abandoned in Ottawa. It was locked and the registration plates were missing. It was towed to the police station,” he said.

Pillay said a locksmith opened the car and a registration plate was found in it. They also found a knife, a bag with bloodied wet wipes and the accused’s blood-stained underwear.

“It is important to note that when he handed himself in, he had a bite mark on his left hand and his middle fingernail was missing. His right thumb had a slight knife wound,” he said.

Pillay said Singh told the police he remembered nothing about the murder.

Daily News