Police nab third suspect after Durban pensioner killed in sari slaying
A fourth suspect is also being sought for the Tuesday slaying.
Ram, also known as Dukhi Radha Dasi after being initiated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness in 2002, was in her prayer room when she was strangled with her sari. Her daughter Raksha, 44, was assaulted during the attack and was taken to hospital.
On Friday afternoon, the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court was all but deserted when Simphiwe Cele, 40, and Bheki Msomi, 42, were brought into court by police.
According to the charge sheet, they face charges of murder and robbery, which included R85000 in cash, as well as a laptop and a cellphone.
Both suspects appeared nonchalant in the dock, with Msomi indicating to Magistrate Ngema that he would like to conduct his own defence.
Shortly after, police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker confirmed a third suspect had been arrested on Friday morning in Matatiele in the Eastern Cape.
According to reports, Ram had gone to her prayer room, her regular habit, on Tuesday morning soon after her husband Bobby had left for work, while daughter Raksha was in the house.
A tenant heard some noises and, on investigating, found Ram’s body and Raksha, who was injured and bleeding.
Police reaction was swift, with the first suspect in the murder being caught on Wednesday.
Naicker said detectives from Chatsworth had “worked relentlessly to ensure that the perpetrator of a heinous murder is arrested. Following an intensive investigation, police have arrested a suspect who is accused of murdering a 73-year-old pensioner from Kharawastan (Chatsworth).
“Following this murder, police worked around the clock. Their investigation led them to Greyville where the suspect was arrested. It is alleged that the suspect was previously employed by the complainant to conduct maintenance on her property,” he said.
According to sources, Cele had worked for the family as a handyman.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Naicker said a multidisciplinary operation was held in Ndwedwe where a second suspect was cuffed, with police recovering a small amount of cash and a cellphone.
During the suspects’ first appearance yesterday, the State indicated that they would oppose bail. The formal bail application was set down for Thursday.
Both suspects have been remanded to holding cells at the Chatsworth Police Station.
Naicker confirmed late yesterday that the third suspect would appear in Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Ram, who had been part of the Hare Krishna Movement for many years, was laid to rest on Thursday, with tributes pouring in from far and wide. She was described as a gentle and kind person, who enjoyed gardening and spent every morning in her prayer room
Chatsworth Community Policing Forum chairperson, Jakes Singh, confirmed that a fourth suspect was also being sought.
“In terms of the suspects being spread far and wide, we really appreciate the sterling and swift response by all the SAPS units who have been involved. They have really been working around the clock to arrest these suspects. The fourth suspect is currently being sought,” he said.Independent On Saturday