Sukdey Ramataur at her birthday party, in the wheelchair in which she died last week. Picture: Supplied
Sukdey Ramataur at her birthday party, in the wheelchair in which she died last week. Picture: Supplied

Wheelchair bound woman, 85, stabbed to death during home robbery

By Charlene Somduth Time of article published Oct 23, 2020

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Durban - POOBALEN and Sukdey Ramataur were soulmates. They were married for 30 years and loved being together.

Last Thursday, Poobalen watched helplessly as his wife bled to death in her wheelchair, after being stabbed during a home robbery.

Sukdey, 85, whose leg had been amputated two years ago, had been stabbed in the head, neck and body. She died at the scene.

Her relative, Ashley Sukram, said the couple and their domestic worker were at their home in Peacevale, Dundee, when two men armed with knives jumped over the fence into their yard.

“They entered the home through the kitchen door at the back of the house,” said Sukram.

“One of the suspects held Poobalen at knifepoint on the kitchen floor. Sukdey was in her wheelchair in the bedroom and the domestic worker was washing clothes in the bathroom. The second suspect approached them and demanded cash.

“The suspect found just over R3000 but instead of leaving with the money, he stabbed Sukdey on her head, neck and body. She was covered in blood. He then ordered the domestic worker to wheel her to the lounge.”

Sukram said Poobalen, 75, heard his wife’s pleas for help but he could not respond because the robber who was guarding him threatened to kill him.

“Sukdey bled to death in the lounge. When the robbers left, Poobalen and the domestic worker ran out of the home and called my mom, Shakila, for help. She arrived and called the police.

“These criminals are vile and are monsters. How could they stab a defenceless woman with one leg? Why kill her?”

The relative said this was the third time the couple had been robbed.

In 2019, their home was burgled while they were away. In March this year, robbers broke down the kitchen door and stabbed Poobalen before fleeing with cash.

“We tried to get them to move but they did not want to leave their home. Instead, they upgraded their security by placing razor wire on the fence.”

Sukram said the couple was married for 30 years and did not have children.

Before retirement, Poobalen worked as a vendor and Sukdey worked for a laundry service.

“They loved being together and they loved their independence. They took care of one another. Poobalen has lost his soulmate. He is still living in their home and every day relives what they went through.”

Sukdey was cremated on Saturday.

Siyabonga Ndlovu, the ward 2 councillor for Dundee, said: “This is the third killing reported in the past month. We need more police deployed to the area to combat crime. We also need the community to get involved in patrols.”

Hours after the killing, a 35-year-old suspect was arrested.

Captain Nqobile Gwala, a provincial police spokesperson, said an investigation was conducted and the suspect was traced and arrested in the vicinity of the home.

“He was found in possession of a knife suspected to have been used, as well as blood that was visible on his clothes. Another 45-year-old man was taken in for questioning.”

Gwala said the suspect was arrested and charged with murder and house robbery. He appeared in the Dundee Magistrate’s Court on Monday. The accused was remanded into custody until October 28 for a bail application.

Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial police commissioner, said: “The killing of defenceless women and elderly people will not be tolerated in our province. We will make sure that all those involved in gender-based violence are brought to book. I am glad the suspect was caught immediately so that he will face the music for his evil deeds.”

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