It took about an hour before police were able to secure the crime scene and for forensic investigators to gather evidence. By then the two bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Pictures: African News Agency/ANA
It took about an hour before police were able to secure the crime scene and for forensic investigators to gather evidence. By then the two bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Pictures: African News Agency/ANA

’Badly contaminated’ Teddy Mafia crime scene presents uphill battle for cops

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Jan 10, 2021

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Durban - Experts believe the “badly contaminated crime scene” which yielded the bodies of three men, including that of suspected drug dealer, Yaganathan Pillay, also known as Teddy Mafia, presents an “uphill battle” for police to establish the circumstances that led to the Shallcross killings.

It has been alleged that the two men who visited Pillay at his Shallcross home on Monday were responsible for firing shots that killed him.

Pillay has had many drug-related run-ins with the law, especially over the last decade.

He was arrested in 2013 after a police raid netted R5 million worth of drugs at his home. In 2016, he was arrested for being in possession of drugs worth R1.8m and a range of firearms.

Last April, he suffered the same fate after police seized unlicensed firearms and a large some of cash during another police sting. He was later released on R5 000 bail.

A month prior, his son Devendren Lionel Pillay was killed during a drive-by shooting in Shallcross.

Still, members of his community hero-worshipped Pillay and sang praises about the good deeds he had done.

It seemed that some members of the community were prepared to kill for him as it has been widely reported that locals attacked and killed Pillay’s two visitors after they learnt that he was shot.

Videos of men’s heads being hacked off and their bodies that lay a short distance from Pillay’s home being burnt went viral.

Pillay’s daughter, Terrisa Govender, told journalists that she was present when her father received his two guests and went into another part of the house.

But she rushed to her father when she heard the sounds of gunfire.

That’s when she found Pillay slumped over a chair and the two men looking at him.

How their bodies landed on the street is yet to be established, and whether they were already dead before they were beheaded and burnt is still to be confirmed.

Police would have made easier headway in answering those questions had they been alerted sooner, and given immediate access to the crime scene, once they arrived.

It is believed that Pillay was shot around 2pm, and metro police officers, who were the first to respond, were only alerted around 3.25pm.

Upon arrival, their path was blocked, shots were fired at the officers, and they were pelted with stones and other missiles.

It took about an hour before police were able to secure the crime scene and for forensic investigators to gather evidence. By then the two bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

Members of metro police’s search and rescue unit eventually scraped their remains from the street before loading it into body bags.

According to a policeman, who asked not to be named, the crime scene was “badly contaminated” and the guns that were fired on the day were nowhere to be seen.

Mary de Haas, KZN violence monitor, said: “It is going to be an absolutely uphill battle for police to piece things together if they don’t have proper forensic and ballistic information.”

De Haas explained that the bodies needed to be X-rayed as it would provide crucial evidence, considering they were shot.

She conceded that there was no guarantee that establishing such evidence would be a smooth road because “half the time, the X-ray machine doesn’t work”.

De Haas said crucial information like the type of guns, the distance from which shots were fired, whether the two men were shot or attacked before they were mutilated and burnt and the time of attacks, would be established through ballistics and forensic evidence.

She doubted whether members of the community would “talk”.

“It is unlikely you would get the truth out of people who were present at the time because many of them took the law in their own hands,” said de Haas.

She is also cognisant that the police’s cybercrime unit will have an important role to play, just as they did in analysing footage that emerged after some disgruntled Kaizer Chiefs fans vandalised and stormed the Moses Mabhida pitch in April 2018.

Videos of the violent scenes did the rounds on social media and police used facial recognition techniques and other technology to arrest some of the perpetrators.

Brigadier Jay Naicker, the SAPS KZN spokesperson, said investigations were presently on the go and it was being handled by their provincial organised crime unit.

Parbhoo Sewpersad, metro police spokesperson, said they were pleased that Pillay’s funeral on Thursday was completed without incidents.

“We anticipated there might be shots fired, spinning of tyres and other unruly behaviour, but we want to thank the community for co-operating.”

Sewpersad called on the community to assist with information and not share fake news.

He cited a post on social media supposedly showing a heavy metro police presence at Pillay’s funeral, which drew widespread criticism.

Sewpersad explained that the video was taken at the funeral of a metro policeman, earlier this week, and some people preferred to use that video to peddle misinformation.

“Everyone wants to be detectives, which hampers our work.

“Anyone who has factual and concrete information about this matter should contact police,” advised Sewpersad.

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