A KwaZulu-Natal man accused of killing his elderly mother and then living with her corpse for three nights, allegedly tried to plan a memorial lunch for her a day before he was arrested.
The 33-year-old was arrested on Friday in Hazelmere. A source has since revealed that the day before his arrest, the accused contacted a well-known eatery on the Durban beachfront and asked if he could arrange a get-together in memory of his mother.
According to Reaction Unit SA's Prem Balram, an off-duty police officer was called for assistance after a homeowner discovered the 72-year-old woman's body in a room.
The accused had been renting a room on the landlord's property.
Balram said other residents claimed that the woman was last seen on Tuesday last week.
"Her son initially informed first responders that she demised (died) due to natural causes. When other residents (had earlier) asked about the woman's wellbeing, her son continuously provided reasons as to why she did not want to be disturbed," Balram said.
They confronted the accused on Friday and demanded to see the woman.
Balram said the residents suspected the woman was dead because of a pungent smell emanating from the room.
"When they spoke to the son, he gave different versions of how his mother died. When questioned further, he told officers that his mother arrived at his house two weeks ago to visit him. He said he decided to give her a bath and claimed that she refused and turned violent. He claimed that he pushed her, and she fell to the ground and suffered head injuries," Balram said.
Balram said the accused dressed the woman and placed her on the bed. He then cleaned the room and left.
"He did not advise anyone of her demise and stayed in the room with her partially decomposing body for the following three nights. During the day, he would leave and return in the afternoon," Balram said.
Provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Robert Netshiunda, confirmed the arrest, adding that the circumstances that led to the murder form part of police investigations.