Father and son acquitted of woman's murder

By Monica Laganparsad Time of article published Nov 30, 2004

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Police officer Prem Basdeo and his 18-year-old son, Jordan Basdeo, were on Monday acquitted on a murder charge by a Durban judge.

The charge arose from the death four years ago of Neetha Basdeo, Prem Basdeo's wife and Jordan's mother.

"I am very glad it is over and all the evidence against me was fabricated," said Prem Basdeo, a superintendent based at Sydenham Police Station.

"The police investigation was filled with lies and I am very bitter towards the police. I am a senior police officer who was treated without any humanity.

"They used my innocent son to implicate me in the murder. I don't know who killed Neetha. I leave it in God's hands."

Jordan Basdeo said he was relieved it was over but heartsore because his uncle had turned against them.

"I want the police to continue with my mother's murder investigation. I want to know who killed her," he said.

In acquitting the pair, Judge King Ndlovu said there was no evidence linking the accused to the murder and no reasonable court would convict them.

The father and son earlier pleaded not guilty, and in a statement to the Durban High Court said they were not at home at the time of the murder.

Neetha was found with a gunshot wound to the head in a shipping container in December 2000. The family had been living in the container while their Phoenix home underwent renovation.

The trial which began last week, has pitted brothers against each other.

Last week, the court heard evidence from Vinesh Basdeo, the younger brother of Prem Basdeo who is also a police superintendent, based at the national headquarters in Pretoria.

The feud between the two brothers allegedly stems from Prem Basdeo marrying Vinesh Basdeo's ex-girlfriend. But, Vinesh Basdeo denied the allegation under cross-examination, adding that he had remained friends with his brother's second wife after their break-up.

Vinesh Basdeo told the court that on the day of the murder, Prem came to his house with his two sons saying that his wife was dead.

He said he did not take him seriously. Later during cross-examination he said his brother told him: "I shot my wife".

Vinesh Basdeo was also accused of using a family secret to manipulate his mother and sister into implicating Prem in the murder.

Counsel for the Basdeos, Gideon Scheltema, said while cross-examining him: "You had a hold over your sister and mother. Your sister gave birth to a baby when she was 15-years-old... it's a family secret.

"You were told that your mother had killed the baby... buried it alive," said Scheltema.

"I was three years old when my sister was 15. I cannot recall this. I'm totally surprised," replied Vinesh Basdeo.

"You used this knowledge to pressure your mother and Mrs Boongaard to serve your own selfish interest," said Scheltema.

"Never," answered Vinesh Basdeo.

He also denied that he was obsessed with Prem Basdeo's wife and had sought to avenge their marriage by implicating his brother in Neetha Basdeo's murder.

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