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Killers angry over R8, court told

Published Aug 14, 2012

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KwaZulu-Natal - Gang-raped and strangled, a KwaZulu-Natal grandmother was allegedly killed in her home because she had only R8 to give her attackers.

This was the evidence heard at the start of the trial of Sandile Vilakazi, 26, in the Durban High Court on Monday.

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Vilakazi is on trial for the April 2009 murder and rape of Sukrajia Nirhoo, 78, at Newark, near KwaDukuza (Stanger). According to the indictment, Vilakazi broke into Nirhoo’s home, raped and strangled her and stole jewellery and cash.

In a statement read to the court yesterday, Vilakazi pleaded not guilty. He said he had been with brothers Babaloo and Bongani Khumalo.

The Khumalos were arrested in connection with the crime but were released without being charged.

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He said he had accompanied the brothers to Newark, in Tugela, where Khumalo (Babaloo) had pointed out a home.

“Babaloo said he knew the maid that worked at the home and that there was a safe in the bedroom. Babaloo said we must rob the home, but Bongani and I refused to go with him. He then took out a gun and threatened to shoot us.”

Vilakazi said the three of them went into the home and found Nirhoo in the kitchen.

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“Babaloo asked the lady to show him the safe, but she said there was no safe in the home. Babaloo asked the woman for money, but she said she only had R8, which he took.”

Vilakazi claimed that Khumalo became angry because he could not find the safe.

“He pointed a firearm at Bongani and I, and told us to rape the woman. Babaloo also raped her. Babaloo then told Bongani to take a belt and strangle her. She was still moving, so Babaloo strangled her until she was still.”

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Also yesterday, Nirhoo’s son, Sundarlall Rajkoomar, testified that he found his mother lying in her prayer room.

“When I got home from work I saw that the entire house had been ransacked… I kept calling for my mother… I found her lying on a bed in her prayer room. She was covered with a blanket.”

Rajkoomar said his mother kept very little money in the home. “She kept a few coins in a tin and she had some pieces of jewellery. All of that was taken.”

Police warrant officer Prakash Asaram testified that Vilakazi had been arrested a few days after Nirhoo’s murder.

“I was called to a housebreaking… the accused… had barricaded himself in the home. During questioning, it emerged that Vilakazi had information about the murder.”

The trial was adjourned to later this month and Vilakazi was remanded. - The Mercury

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