Nundkumaran Poonusamy Pillay, 64, pleaded guilty in the Durban High Court before Judge Shyam Gyanda on Wednesday.
Pillay’s 69-year-old common-law wife, Dhunalutchmee Naidoo, was found with her throat slit in their home in Eastbury on April 8.
Soon after the murder, Pillay handed himself in at Phoenix Police Station.
In his plea statement read out in court by legal aid attorney Pragasen Marimuthu, Pillay said his wife did not want to live.
In the statement, Pillay said they often had no money for basic essentials.
“She started crying and she told me that she felt bad for everything that she has to put me through every day. She begged me to kill her.”
Pillay said they spoke of their son who had died of cancer and of their families who would not miss them when they died.
“We both were crying when she asked me to do it.”
Pillay said he first tried to suffocate her but she fought him.
“She told me that she did not want to die like that; she told me that it would be better if I stabbed her and finished her. She begged me to end her suffering.”
Pillay said he stabbed her once in her throat. “I never slit her throat. I stayed with her, holding her hand until she took her last breath. I cried as I watched her pass away.
“After she passed, I kissed her on her forehead and told her that I loved her.”
The court heard that the couple were together for 45 years. Pillay said their only income was their pension grants.
“We were never financially stable and we own no assets except clothing and furniture.
“My wife was bedridden for almost three years and I was taking care of her on my own. I did everything for my wife. I didn’t mind taking care of my wife because I loved her, I still do. She was never a burden to me.”
Pillay said he regretted killing her. “I see her every time I close my eyes, I really miss her and wish I hadn’t listened to her,” he said.
Pillay said he wanted people to know that he killed Naidoo because he “loved her” and wanted to end her suffering.
The matter was adjourned to next month for sentencing.