Durban — The Phoenix man convicted of five murders and six attempted murders is due to be sentenced in two weeks in the Durban High Court.
Kista Chetty was found guilty of the 2021 murders of his wife Elisha Naidoo, 39; his daughter, Jaidene, 13; his son, Jordan, 9; Aarav (Liam), 8; and his 3-year-old nephew Aldrin.
At the time, the family lived in a bedroom that they rented in a house on Kidstone Place in Phoenix.
Chetty’s brother-in-law, Deon Naidoo, and others lived in the lounge of the same house. Twelve people lived in the house.
Chetty pleaded not guilty to the five counts of murder and six counts of attempted murders levelled against him by the State.
Chetty testified that he had taken 5-litre container with petrol in it, poured some of it into the cap and emptied the contents on to his T-shirt.
He lit his T-shirt from the bottom, he said.
His wife screamed that he was on fire, and he quickly took his T-shirt off and threw it on the ground without realising it had landed on the 5-litre container, he told the court.
His testimony was that the fire started and moved quickly, while his wife and children stood on the other side of the bed which had caught alight. He said he picked up the burning bed and screamed for his family to get out, adding that this was how he sustained burns on his hands and face.
This incident had been preceded by an earlier physical fight he had had with Deon after which Chetty was pushed out of the house by his wife and daughter, and locked out.
He returned later that night asking to be let into the house.
The door was opened for him, and once he was inside the bedroom he decided to kill himself.
Chetty’s sentencing had been delayed by pre-sentencing reports, which were recently submitted to Judge Carol Sibiya.
In two weeks’ time, Judge Sibiya is expected to hear mitigation and aggravation of sentence arguments from senior State prosecutor advocate Krishen Shah and Chetty’s Legal Aid attorney Musa Chiliza before handing down sentence.
Testimony of a fire expert during the trial was that the fire was deliberately caused after petrol was poured in the vicinity of the bedroom door.
The injuries sustained by the accused were a result of him setting the fire, the exert sad.
Chetty’s burn injuries were indicative of him having set the fire, the expert told the court.
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