Court hears of Boxing Day mass shooting
Durban - Retired Telkom employee Maran Nair, accused of going on a horror shooting spree at his daughter’s home that left two people dead and three wounded, might have been bitter that she had got married without his involvement.
This was put to a witness on Monday, at the start of Nair’s trial in the Durban High Court, which also heard testimony of constant animosity between the victims and Nair since his daughter Kubashnie married into the Govender family.
Nair, 63, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder and of pointing a firearm.
The victims, Reuben Samuel, 54, his wife Kumari, 42, Shunker Govender, 35, Pushpa Govender, 67, and Devendran Naicker, 34, were shot on Boxing Day, December 26, 2014.
Kumari died of her injuries soon after and Shunker, who was shot in the chest and left paralysed, two months later.
For Nair, Monday marked the start of his three-week trial; however, for the family, it represents a three-year process of getting justice.
Nair called POST on Monday night, saying the case had been “very stressful” for him as the family’s “dirty linen” was being hung out in public.
“This was a family matter that turned ugly,” he said.
The Samuel family had been living in Unit 7, Chatsworth, at the time, along with Nair’s daughter, Kubashnie, her husband, Anand Govender, and their sons.
Anand’s sister was Kumari. Their mother Pushpa and brother Shunker had also lived there.
Reuben, the State’s first witness, said that on the night in question he had been sitting outside at around 7.30pm with his nephew, Naicker, and brother-in-law, Perumal Applesamy, when he heard someone arrive.
“I heard someone calling ‘Reuben’, but I did not recognise the voice, so I walked up to the gate. While walking I heard, ‘Where’s that Reuben?’ and when I saw who it was at the gate,
I asked: ‘What do you want?’ and I opened the gate. He did not say anything. I asked the same question again and the next thing he pointed a gun at my face and shot me. I didn’t hear anything else. The bullet struck my jaw below my ear and I lost consciousness.”
When Reuben regained consciousness, he saw his wife next to him and passed out again, the court heard.
He said he was in hospital for days, and only found out his wife had died four days later.
“I was discharged on December 31, and found out the day before that my wife had died.”
Reuben said there had been animosity between the family and Nair since Nair’s daughter married his relative, Anand, about six years previously.
“He was always vulgar and swearing, either when he came to Durban or over the phone.
"Initially, Anand and Kubashnie lived with him in Pretoria, then moved to Chatsworth, where they lived with us. The accused would want his grandsons to go over for holidays, and because they didn’t, he would get upset and arguments would start.”
On Tuesday, he said that three days before the tragedy, Nair had telephoned his house and asked to speak to his daughter, and then her husband. The couple were not available and Nair then starting swearing at him, he said, adding he had said: “I’ll f****** blow y’all”.
On Monday the defence counsel put it to Reuben that Nair was not happy about his daughter’s relationship, because she had married Anand after knowing him for only six months.
“Could it have been that Kubashnie was pregnant, which is why she got married?” the counsel asked.
“I can’t answer, I don’t know,” responded Reuben.
Counsel persisted: “Could he have been angry that his daughter got married without his involvement, and never got over it?”
To which Reuben responded: “(He) could have.”
On Tuesday, Reuben’s daughter, Poovendree Hansuraj, 26, testified before Judge Mohini Moodley.
“All I saw was my mother with blood from her ear, on her hair and her side,” she said, gasping as she tried to compose herself.
Povendree had been doing her hair when she heard gunshots.
“I ran to the window to see what happened and I saw my parents lying on the ground, inside the gate. My dad was flat on his stomach and my mom bleeding against the wall.
"I did not see anyone or anything else. All I did was run straight towards my mother and he (Nair) picked up his gun and asked, ‘Do you want to be shot next?’ I said ‘I don’t care, you shot both my parents’, and he pressed the trigger, but the gun made a click instead of going off, and that’s how I knew it was jammed.”
The trial continues.