Ashen Vishnudath. Picture: Nadia Khan
Ashen Vishnudath. Picture: Nadia Khan

State witness in Ashen Vishnudath's murder trial to test for Covid-19

By Nadia Khan Time of article published Mar 16, 2020

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Durban - The murder trial of a Reservoir Hills man was adjourned as the Durban High Court heard that a State witness is expected to get tested for Covid-19. 

The trial of of Ashen Vishnudath ,27, charged for the murder of Navandren Govender, was set to begin on Monday. 

It was set down for the next couple days. 

Vishnudath is alleged to killed Govender in March 2019. 

According to State indictments Vishnudath is alleged to have fetched Govender from his home, shot him three times and and then disposed of his body by throwing it off Giba Gorge in Marianhill. 

Senior State advocate Cheryl Naidu told the court that the witness had informed her that she had been in contact with persons who recently returned from Thailand and was experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Naidu advised the court that the witness is expected to undergo the Covid-19 test on Monday. 

The trial has been adjourned to June. 

According to the indictments, Govender was a self-employed mechanic and car restoration specialist who operated his business from his residence at Orleans Place, Reservoir Hills.

The nature of his business entailed him buying and selling cars and due to the success of his business, the deceased was known to often have large amounts of cash in his possession.

The State alleged that Vishnudath, who was employed at a car rental company, was an acquaintance of the deceased and knew he ran a successful business and was always in possession of large amounts of cash. For this reason the accused devised a plan to rob and kill Govender.

To this end and some time prior to March 6, 2019, the accused successfully negotiated the sale of his partner Christina Eveon Pillay's car -a  Nissan Almera - with the deceased. 

Shortly after midday on March 6 the accused who was allegedly armed with a firearm picked up the Govender from his residence in Orleans Place and proceeded to his home in 52 Stanton Street in order to conclude the sale.

It is alleged the accused and deceased alighted from the vehicle and shortly thereafter, the accused produced the firearm and robbed the deceased of R10 000 cash, a Samsung S5 and another cellphone. 

Thereafter he shot the deceased three times in the head and/or face injuring him fatally.

It is alleged accused thereafter dragged the deceased’s body back into the said vehicle and drove to Giba Gorge, Gweni in Marianhill where he disposed of the deceased’s body.

After returning to the Reservoir Hills area for a brief period, the accused fled in the said vehicle to Johannesburg.

According to post mortem results, Govender died at Vishnudath's home from a perforating gunshot wound to the head. 

Apart from murder charges Vishnudath also faces a charge of escaping from lawful custody after he escaped from Westville Prison. 

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