FRIEND AT HER SIDE: Carmen Nan Lee, the mother of Siam Lee who was found slain and burnt in a sugar cane field, with her friends Christy du Preez and Sue Foster in the Durban Magistrate’s Court. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN - The mother of slain Siam Lee said she understood the pain her alleged killer’s family was going through.

“I really do,” Carmen Nan Lee said after he appeared in Durban Magistrate’s Court yesterday. “I pity his poor mother.”

She identified the suspect’s mother last week after the first hearing. While greeting supporters at the end of a corridor in the court building, Lee remarked “there’s his mother” as the man’s family walked past. However, the two women did not exchange any kind of greeting.

“They’ve lost a son and I’ve lost my little girl, but he’s still there,” Siam’s mother said.  

“I just have so much faith in the judicial system and in Jesus Christ that he is going to be found guilty – I am not going to say allegedly, because I know what was done to my daughter,” said Lee. “I am filled with pain, not anger, just pain."

Siam was found dead and burnt in a sugar cane field near New Hanover in mid-January after she had last been seen at a house, believed to be a brothel, in upmarket Durban North. It is claimed the mother and daughter worked there.

Siam Lee's mother, Carmen Nan, speaks on feeling pity for mother of accused. Video: Duncan Guy

At court, her alleged killer, dressed in a grey suit with gold buttons and glossy navy blue shirt, blew kisses and waved at his family.

“I understand where he was coming from,” Lee added.

She also said she had felt nervous seeing him in court the second time.

During proceedings, the State added more charges, including one of rape, which, because it is a sexual offence, means the alleged killer cannot be identified until he pleads.

Other charges added were for kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, pointing a firearm, crimen injuria, intimidation and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Motala told the accused he would be called to appear again on Tuesday, when he would be remanded to March 7 for a two-day bail application hearing.

By this time the man in the dock had taken off his jacket and was cooling his face by waving his hand.

“And hopefully the air-conditioning will be working then,” Motala quipped.

More charges are expected, said prosecutor Surekha Marimuthu, without giving details.Even though the suspect cannot be identified, Motala said photographers may take pictures, as long as the court was not in session. 

This was no help to the many media photographers present who were not able to do so because the accused rushed down the steps to the cells while the court was still sitting.

Lee’s friend, Sue Foster, told The Independent on Saturday that petitions requesting the accused not get bail were gaining signatures.

“People from India to California have signed it,” she said.

“I am using the same social media platforms that I used to announce that Siam was missing and it went viral.”