Granny, 77, killed in ‘revenge attack’

The alleged suspect had been employed by several of the residents in the area to clean their gardens.

Ramrathie Rajcoomar was found strangled to death with her white Punjabi scarf.

Published Mar 24, 2024


A Phoenix granny was allegedly killed in a ‘revenge attack’ by her gardener after she quizzed him about stealing money from her relative’s home.

Neighbours who had found out about the alleged theft, immediately discontinued his gardening services.

The alleged suspect had been employed by several of the residents in the area to clean their gardens.

Ramrathie Rajcoomar, 77, was found strangled to death, with her white Punjabi scarf, in the bathroom of her Sastri Park, Phoenix home, last Monday.

Rajen Rajcoomar told the POST that his mother had woken up early on the day to prepare for a family prayer that afternoon.

“My mother was a very organised person. She woke up in the morning and did the cooking for the prayer and then went to clean the prayer area outside. She washed and cleaned the religious idols.”

He said at some point, when she went into the house to fetch something, her killer “jumped over her fence and followed her into the house”.

“She was wearing a Punjabi and he used her scarf to strangle her. We believe that while he was inside the house he took some money. We are not sure about the amount. He emptied out a bin packet that had leaves in it, on the lounge floor. He tried to cover the TV with it but for some reason it didn’t work out. He then left the TV and bin bag in the lounge.”

Rajcoomar said the attacker then fled, taking the house keys with him.

“He unlocked the main gate used to enter the property and left with the keys and lock. Neighbours saw the man leaving my mother’s house and identified him as her gardener. They contacted my sister because they felt something was amiss.”

When his sister arrived at the house she found their mother.

“This gardener had worked for most of the residents on the road. My mother had referred him to my aunty, who is a widow. She needed work done at her home. He went to work for her on odd days from December last year. It was alleged that during this time he had stolen about R800 from my aunty’s house.”

Rajcoomar said when his mother saw the gardener a few weeks ago, she confronted him about stealing the money.

“I told my mother not to confront him. But, I think she was feeling guilty about him stealing the money as she had referred him to my aunty. She had told him that if he needed help or extra money, he should have asked. When other residents heard that he had stolen money, I believe they stopped using his services. This leads us to believe that this was a revenge attack … where he killed our mother.” he said

He said their family was in shock. “My mother was a pensioner and she previously worked as a machinist. She loved her children and grandchildren. Her priority was to just always cook and feed us.

“ She was always inviting us over for special occasions. She was a loving, caring, kind and giving person. It is difficult to accept that she is no longer with us.”

He said Rajcoomar had lived in the community for 36 years.

“My mum lived alone after my sister passed away five years ago. We were trying to get her to come and stay with me or my sister. She would visit us for a few days at a time but then always wanted to go back to her home. Apart from having her own independence, I believe she loved her home because of the memories it held of my late sister.”

He said the community was angered by her death.

“We don’t feel safe anymore. Residents are shocked that a murder can happen in broad daylight. Nothing will bring my mother back but we need the suspect to be caught so that another resident does not suffer a similar fate. Police need to do more to keep us safe.”

He appealed to anyone with information that could lead to the suspect’s arrest to report it to the police. Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala, a provincial police spokesperson, said a case of murder was being investigated by police.


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