The husband of a Durban former school principal removed his glasses to wipe away his tears as the knife allegedly used to stab him the night his wife was murdered was presented in court on Tuesday.
The black-handled knife was allegedly taken from the couple’s kitchen and was later recovered, along with crockery items on which the attackers had enjoyed cake and tea moments before the attack.
The men took the crockery with them when they fled the scene, allegedly in an effort to hide their fingerprints.
Detective Sunil Maharaj told the Durban High Court he recovered a coffee mug, saucer, glass and plates in bushes at Pilgrim Sports Grounds shortly after arresting Lungani Basil Underhill, who is believed to be the mastermind behind the robbery and murder of Gonapathy Pillay, and attempted murder of Loganathan Pillay, 70.
Last week, the court heard that the couple offered their attackers tea and cake shortly before they attacked them at their home.
Estate agent Lungani Underhill arrived at the Pillays’ home with Sibonelo Braveman Underhill – who Pillay said was introduced to them as his cousin – along with Fredboy Msomi, an alleged interested property buyer, and another man identified only as Thembinkosi, who is still at large, on September 30, 2017.
Pillay, who was stabbed 18 times, told the court last week Lungani repeatedly stabbed him while he lay face-down on the bathroom floor, and watched helplessly as his wife was strangled with her scarf.
Maharaj identified several items presented in court as exhibits as those he found in the bushes, including the knife allegedly used to stab Pillay.
Maharaj said he was led to the Pilgrim Sports Fields by Lungani, who told him that the items would be found there.
Pillay and members of his family were seated in the front row of the packed courtroom and listened attentively as Maharaj related how the trio were arrested and subsequently led police to the other items they allegedly took from the house, including a bakkie, necklace and a plasma television.
“It was a dense, bushy area. I picked up each item and placed them in the evidence bags,” said Maharaj.
He later received information that a man named Kelvin had the necklace.
“I went to the house where I was told I would find him. I asked him if he was in possession of a gold necklace, and he said he was. He went into the house and came back with it,” he said.
Maharaj noted the gold necklace had a Hindu pendant referred to as a Thali, a piece of jewellery won by married Indian women.
Shaheen Seedat, the attorney representing Lungani, said his client would tell the court he was assaulted by the police inside a boardroom at Bayview Police Station.
He said Lungani would say that he voluntarily took police to the spot where Thembinkosi had instructed him to discard the knife.
Sizwe Masondo, representing Msomi, said his client was assaulted by police at the Makhanya homestead on the South Coast, where he was arrested.
The case continues. –Daily News