Pietermaritzburg man pleads guilty to shooting his ex-wife 12 times on Mother’s Day eve

Pietermaritzburg gospel singer Delana Cader Rawlins. Picture: Facebook

Pietermaritzburg gospel singer Delana Cader Rawlins. Picture: Facebook

Published Mar 20, 2024


A Pietermaritzburg man, who pleaded guilty to killing his ex-wife on the eve of Mother’s Day, said he was truly remorseful for his actions.

Ian Rawlins pleaded guilty in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday to the May 2023 murder of his ex-wife Delana Carmen Rawlins, a gospel singer.

In his guilty plea handed to the court by his defense counsel Advocate Brad Osborne, Rawlins outlined the events leading up to the murder.

He said on May 13, 2023, he attended a party with Delana.

He said they also spent time together the day before, despite being divorced a month earlier.

“We had gone shopping and I had bought her an outfit to wear to the party.”

He said although they had divorced on April 21, 2023, they were discussing a reconciliation and possible resumption of their previous relationship.

Rawlins said while at the party, various male guests were discussing Delana and her relationship with another man.

“This caused me to confront the deceased and we then became involved in a loud and acrimonious argument which resulted in us being asked to leave the party.”

Rawlins said they both left the party in different vehicles.

“I was in the company of Lester Ross, who was seated in the passenger seat of my vehicle. Delana departed with Raynard Martin, who was driving her home.”

He said they drove in convoy with Martin’s vehicle in front.

Rawlins said he realised he left his drinks in Martin’s car and overtook and pulled over to the side of the road, and the vehicle pulled over behind him.

“I then alighted and proceeded to Martin’s vehicle where Delana and I to began arguing again,” Rawlins said.

“As a result I then accosted Delana and demanded the return of the clothing which I had earlier bought and which she was wearing. When she refused to return the clothes I physically tried to remove them by pulling on her pants and t-shirt,” he said.

“We then separated and I started walking back to my car. Whilst walking back I realised that Delana had my house keys in her possession. I returned then to Martin’s vehicle in order to ask for my keys.”

Rawlins said in order not to be involved in another confrontation with Delana he went to the driver’s side and asked her for the key.

She had been seated in the passenger seat.

“When I asked for my keys, Delana refused to give them to me which caused me to lose my temper and to draw my firearm with the intent to threaten the deceased with it,” Rawlins said.

“As I pushed the firearm through the open window on the drivers side of the vehicle, it discharged and I then continued firing shots into the deceased until the firearm was no longer capable of discharging shots.”

He said while he did not remember how many shots were fired, he did not dispute that at least 12 shots were fired at Delana by him.

Rawlins said he left the scene, with the knowledge that Delana was still alive and drove to the Pietermaritzburg Municipal dump.

“Where I sat in my car at tried to comprehend what had happened. Once the full impact of my conduct had registered, I contacted an attorney who assisted me in handing myself over to the police at Alexandra Police Station, Pietermaritzburg.”

Rawlins denied that his actions were premeditated or planned.

“But rather occurred in the heat of the moment caused by my inability to control my temper.”

He told the court that their marriage was tumultuous and characterised by frequent violent arguments which resulted in at least four protection orders being granted against him.

The State was represented by senior State advocate Dheelan Naidoo.

Judge Piet Bezuidenhout is expected to pass sentencing on Wednesday.

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