victim's mother Shireen

Pietermaritzburg - Tempers flared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Monday when a 20-year-old man was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for stabbing his girlfriend 14 times at a campus in Northdale last year.

Claudius Chetty’s family said they were sorry for what had happened to Rashmika Janthielayal, 17, on June 3 last year when he killed her at the FET College campus.

When Janthielayal’s mother, Shireen, heard the apology she became angry and said it was “a little too late”.


She was taken away by a counsellor to compose herself.

A member of Chetty’s family said: “We are not saying he is guilty or not. We are just saying sorry for what happened.”

The young victim was from Greytown but had been staying with her grandmother, Shirley Ramsahai, in Northdale at the time of her death, because she was studying.

“She was so beautiful. That morning she gave me a warm hug… I didn’t know our baby wouldn’t come back,” Ramsahai said.


Chetty pleaded guilty, saying he and Janthielayal had been involved in a “love relationship”.

He said he went to the campus because they had been having problems and he wanted to “iron out some of these issues”. They spoke and she told him she no longer wished to continue with the relationship.

Chetty said he became angry and, when she turned to walk away from him, he pulled out his knife and stabbed her until she fell to the ground.

In this case, the minimum sentence of 15 years was applicable as the murder was unplanned.

Magistrate Sibusiso Mngomezulu found there were reasons he could impose a lesser sentence. One of these was that he believed that Chetty could be rehabilitated because he was young.

“The court accepted that youthfulness contributed to your error in judgement when you committed the crime. You have been in custody for a year now.” Mngomezulu also stressed the seriousness of the crime. He said the district surgeon’s report showed that Janthielayal was subjected to inhumane treatment and extreme brutality.

“You killed her in cold blood when she was not posing any danger… one would have expected you to control your anger because she would have been your girlfriend. You adopted the attitude that if you can’t have her, no one can.”

Referring to victim impact statements, the magistrate said that the murder had had a huge impact on the teenager’s family, friends and acquaintances.

Shireen said in her statement that life was not the same and the family was still struggling to come to terms with what had happened.

The Mercury