Warrant Officer, Rajan Matthews Govender, murder-accused Romano Govender, and Legal Aid South Africa, Durban's Thiagaraj Prem Pillay. Picture: Karinda Jagmohan.

DURBAN - After evading court twice, murder-accused Romano Naidoo will finally stand trial in November. Naidoo, 34, will stand trial for the execution-style murder of an apparent cross-dresser, Manishvar Ramraj. 

It has been five years since the peculiar murder of Ramraj, the Hare Krishna devotee. In 2013, Ramraj was found dead in his bedroom at his grandmother’s Brookdale house in Phoenix, with a gunshot wound to his head.

His body was clean shaven and adorned in black, lacy lingerie.

Investigations revealed that Ramraj and, then 28-year-old, Naidoo, had been chatting on Mxit prior to the murder.

Watch: Murder-accused has been trying to evade the justice system. Video: Karinda Jagmohan.

Ramraj was reported to have went under the name ‘Debbie’ and developed a racy online relationship with Naidoo.

The pair planned to meet on April 9, 2013, at Ramraj’s home. Expecting a woman to show up, Naidoo was greeted by Ramraj, who was wearing a lacy negligee.

According to media reports at the time, police were alerted to the murder when a neighbour heard a gunshot.

Ramraj was found in a pool of blood, and died while being transported to hospital. Police at the time said Naidoo had not resisted arrest. His matter was heard at the Verulam Magistrates Court at the time, but charges were dropped. 

However, after a complaint, the investigating officer on the case was changed and the charges were reinstated and the matter was moved to the Durban High Court last year.

However, Naidoo has tried to evade justice since, according to Judge Sharon Marks, who, at the Durban High Court on Wednesday, sentenced Naidoo to three months in prison for ‘willful default’ after he skipped two previous court dates.

Naidoo has been charged with murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances, and the unlawful possession of a firearm.

Ramraj was said to have been shot execution style, and his Blackberry was stolen.

Naidoo said the reason why he didn’t attend the court trial dates set from April 16 to April 30 was that he “was sick, scared and busy looking for work.”

After a warrant of arrest was issued for Naidoo he was tracked down on May 11 and arrested on his birthday by Warrant Officer Rajan Matthews Govender.

He previously skipped out on his trial set for December, and was then also convicted for “willful default” with a suspended sentence.

But on Thursday, Judge Marks said he had had enough of Naidoo’s behavior.

“I find your behaviour to be in disregard not only to the deceased’s family who are waiting to see the trial start, not only to the State which is waiting to see the trial start, but also to the Council who you have not communicated with. You have also been contentious to this high court,” she said to Naidoo firmly.

In a 2016 interview with the Sunday Tribune, Ramraj’s sister Navina, said her brother was definitely not a crossdresser.

“He was to perform a religious dance at a cultural event the week he got shot, So his body was clean-shaven. My brother was a religious man,” he said.