Desiree Murugan was a beautiful woman whose life had taken a wrong turn. She was addicted to drugs and became a sex worker to support her drug habit. But Desiree was also the mother of a young son, the much-loved daughter of Sivapurine Murugan and the sister of Jennet.
The family always believed that Desiree would one day overcome her addiction and get her life back on track. Although she lived on the streets, she visited home regularly and had been in rehab a couple of times. The Murugans would have done whatever was needed to help her.
In August 2014, Murugan accompanied a man to a sports ground in Shallcross where they engaged in sexual activities. While she was distracted an accomplice slipped out his hiding place in the nearby bushes and started stabbing her. Desiree didn't stand a chance. She was stabbed 192 times and beheaded while she was still alive. A municipal worker stumbled across her body the next day. Desiree's head was found buried at the home of traditional healer Sibonakaliso Mbili.
During the trial, it emerged that Mbili had offered Mlungisi Ndlovu and Thuso Thelejane R2 million for the head of an Indian woman. Sadly, Murugan proved an easy target for them. A female accomplice who was a minor at the time washed the head before they handed it to the traditional healer in a plastic bag. It would take two weeks for police to track down the head and for the Murugan family to be able to bury Desiree.
The traditional healer was jailed for life while the two killers each received 15-year sentences, but this is cold comfort for Desiree's family who has to raise her son.
Desiree Murugan will never celebrate another Women's Month. She will never celebrate another birthday with her son or another Christmas with her family. She will never get to see him matriculate or fall in love for the first time. She will never get the chance to fulfil the dreams her family had for her.
For Sinoxolo's sake and the sake of women everywhere, if you know somebody who has committed an act of violence against a woman Don't Look Away.
If you know a young woman's life is in danger, Don't Look Away.
If you are able to help prevent another tragedy, Don't Look Away.
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