Durban - A Johannesburg grandfather who went on a shooting spree at the home of his daughter’s in-laws in Chatsworth on Boxing Day in 2014, killing two siblings and injuring four of their family members, has been found guilty of murder and attempted murder.
In the Durban High Court Judge Mohini Moodley said the decision by former Telkom employee Maran Nair, 63, not to testify in his defence during the trial spoke volumes.
“The only version the court knows of the accused, is that he intended to hand over gifts to his grandchild, but that’s the only thing that was put by the defence attorney.
“The accused never testified on his version of events. The defence also did not dispute the fact that Nair fired the gunshots.”
She added that all the witnesses testified that Nair had raised his hands and fired at them and the deceased.
Nair, who was found not guilty of pointing a firearm, is in police custody until his sentencing next month.
Nair’s son-in-law, Anand Govender, whose two siblings died in the December 26 tragedy, described the past five years as torture.
“We have been constantly watching our backs and afraid of going to places in the event we would bump into him. We have mourned the loss of our loved ones for five years and we are glad some sort of justice has been given.
“The judgment is a weight lifted off our shoulders. It is sad because my children will never know their grandfather or spend time with him. All they will know is that he went to our house and shot at us.”
His daughter Kubashnie declined to comment.
A tearful Reuben Samuels, whose wife was shot several times during the incident, said the judgment was a “big, big relief”.
“Although we will not be able to bring back our loved ones the judgment is good. The prosecutor, Denardo Mcdonald, fought for justice for my family and we got it. Now we will begin the process of getting some closure.”
During the trial last year, it was revealed that Nair was upset that his daughter Kubashnie had married Govender, whom he had not approved of, and that he had constantly called his son-in-law’s family and their extended family to swear at them.
On December 26, 2014, Nair went alone to the Montford, Chatsworth, home that Govender shared with his mother and siblings under the pretence of dropping off gifts for his grandchild.
He spoke to a relative, Perumal Applesamy, at the driveway gate and asked to be let inside the house.
While Applesamy went into the house to seek permission from Kubashnie, Nair called another relative, Reuben Samuels, 55, who lived on the same property.
As Samuels opened the gate, he was shot in the left jaw.
Another relative, Devendran Naicker, 34, heard the gunshot and hid. He witnessed Samuels’ wife, Kumari, 42, run out of the house towards her husband and being shot in the hands, chest and neck. She died in hospital the following day.
Her mother, Pushpa Govender, 67, was shot in the left jaw and the bullet exited the back of her neck, while her brother, Thumashan Govender, 35, was also shot.
He was left paralysed and died two months later due to organ failure.
Nair also attempted to shoot Reuben and Kumari Samuels’ daughter, Poovendri, 27, but the gun jammed.
Naicker and Applesamy managed to grab and disarm Nair until the police arrived.