Somasundaran Pillay.
Picture: Supplied
Somasundaran Pillay. Picture: Supplied

Tavern dispute over beer turns deadly

By CHARLENE SOMDUTH Time of article published Oct 11, 2019

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Durban - AN alleged argument over a beer resulted in the death of a Chatsworth father who was assaulted at a tavern on Saturday morning.

Somasundaran Pillay, 42, was at the tavern in Croftdene with a friend when an alleged fight broke out between him and the owners.

Pillay, who was self-employed, was allegedly kicked, punched, and repeatedly hit on the head with the butt of a gun.

He suffered internal bleeding and a shattered skull. Pillay died shortly afterwards at the RK Khan Hospital.

Pillay’s friend, who declined to be named for fear of reprisal, said he tried to intervene.

“Somasundaran was trying to get the attention of the tavern owner’s son so he could order a beer. When he was ignored, he got upset and complained about the service.”

The friend claimed the owner’s son walked toward Pillay and punched him.

“A fight broke out, and the owner, his son, and the son’s friend, all got involved. They took Somasundaran outside and beat him. The owner’s son repeatedly struck my friend on his head with the butt of his gun until he collapsed. They continued to kick him knowing, he could not fight back. I tried to intervene, but they overpowered me and left.”

The friend said he and a few other patrons picked Pillay up and he was taken to the Life Chatsmed Garden Hospital before being transferred to the RK Khan Hospital, where he died.

Pillay’s wife, Beverly Joshlyn, said she was initially told her husband had been injured.

“When I arrived at the ward, I saw him on a ventilator. His skull was shattered, and he suffered brain damage. There was nothing more the doctors could do for him.”

The tavern owner denied the allegations levelled against him, his son, and an employee.

He said Pillay arrived drunk and was with eight friends. “He started grabbing beers from the fridge and giving it to his friends. He broke four bottles in the process. When I told them to leave, he got aggressive and violent.”

He said the group was chased out of the tavern, but they returned.

“He pulled out a knife and we chased him. And we chased them again. They were standing about 100metres away from the tavern when they started arguing among themselves. The man (Pillay) fell during the argument. We did not assault him or hit him with the butt of a gun.”

Pillay was buried on Tuesday at the Mobeni Heights Cemetery.

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of murder is being investigated.

No arrests have been made at the time of publication. 


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