Murder-accused allegedly hid in home waiting for visitors to leave
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Durban: One of the men accused of robbing and killing an Overport businesswoman allegedly hid in her home, waiting for her visitors to leave before attacking her.
Premla Moodliar, 72, who owned and lived alone in a building on Moses Kotane Road (Sparks Road), was found dead in her flat by a maintenance worker in May last year.
Moodliar, a retired deputy principal, was allegedly found with her hands tied behind her back with tape. Her mouth was also taped. Her home had been ransacked.
Bhekokhwake Penuel Magubane, 37, of Inanda, and Mandlakayise Bhapeni Gumede, 34, who lived on the same premises as Moodliar, were arrested and charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder a month later.
Both men, who were arrested by members of the Provincial Investigation Unit, made a brief appearance in the Durban High Court on Monday.
Magubane, who was arrested in Inanda, was found in possession of two wristwatches which belonged to Moodliar. Gumede was arrested in Overport.
The mother of four, whose late husband was the founder of the popular RA Moodley Curry King and Queen Spice Shop, at the Victoria Street Market, assisted her daughter in running the business.
According to the indictments, the State alleged that Gumede worked as a general cleaner for Moodliar. He would often frequent her home and assist her when needed.
Moodliar, who was ill, also required the services of an evening caregiver. However, the caregiver’s last day of work was on April 27 last year.
The State alleged that Gumede and Magubane conspired to kill Moodliar.
Gumede allegedly informed Magubane of the security arrangements and set-up at Moodliar's home.
It is alleged that during the early evening of May 2, Magubane entered Moodliar's home and hid inside. Moodliar had visitors at that time.
After the visitors left, Moodliar locked the doors and armed the inside section of her residence.
It is alleged that Magubane attempted to rob Moodliar and, in the process, triggered the alarm system. He then accosted Moodliar and suffocated her. She sustained injuries to her face and neck.
According to the post-mortem report, Moodliar's cause of death was "fatal pressure around the neck consistent with manual strangulation".
The State alleged that Magubane and Gumede worked together to commit the crimes. The matter was adjourned until next month, for both accused to finalise their legal representation and for trial dates.
Both accused are in custody at Westville Prison.