Two years after a house fire killed five people, a Phoenix man has been jailed.
Kista Sergie Chetty, 59, was sentenced in the Durban High Court to five life terms in jail.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in addition to the life imprisonment, he received an additional 49 years imprisonment.
NPA provincial spokesperson Natasha Ramkisson-Kara said the incident took place in 2021 in Phoenix.
“Chetty lived with his wife, Elisha Naidoo and their five minor children in a house which they rented in Kidstone Place in Phoenix. They shared the house with other family members, including his wife’s brother,” she said.
“On October 31, 2021, Chetty had an argument with his wife and his brother-in-law, and they chased Chetty away from the house.”
Chetty harassed the occupants of the house, wanting to be let back inside but they did not allow him in, and they went to sleep.
“In the early hours of the November 1, 2021, one of Chetty’s daughters opened the door and let him back inside the house. Once inside the house, Chetty decided to kill them,” Ramkisson-Kara said.
As a grass-cutter by profession, Chetty decanted petrol out of a grass-cutting machine and poured it onto the floor.
“He lit a fire and fled the scene. The bedroom where his wife and children slept was destroyed by the fire, together with other adjoining rooms of the house,” Ramkisson-Kara said.
“Chetty’s wife, three of their children and a nephew died in the blaze. Their causes of death being either 100% flame burns to the body, smoke inhalation and/or burns.”
The court heard that the other family members managed to escape.
Chetty was arrested later that day.
In a victim impact statement handed in to court by Senior State advocate Krishen Shah, Chetty’s daughter said that the trauma of the incident still haunts her, and she often has sleepless nights.
“She said that she now only has her younger sister, as her father is in prison and her mother and other siblings are dead. She further added that her younger sister is struggling to cope and misses their family.”
Explaining the sentences, Ramkisson-Kara said Chetty was sentenced to a term of life imprisonment for each of the five counts of murder, seven years imprisonment for each of the six counts of attempted murder and seven years imprisonment for arson.
“The sentences will run concurrently resulting in the effective sentence of life imprisonment.”