Deadly online ‘hook- up’
Married ‘swingers’ arrested for murder
AMARRIED couple seeking fun times with strangers they met online got more than they bargained for at an alleged drug and alcohol- fuelled swingers party on Heritage Day – the husband was murdered and his wife is fighting for her life in hospital.
The Phoenix couple they had invited to their Redhill home – a truck driver and a real estate company manager in their thirties – have now been charged with murder and attempted murder.
They appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday and were released on R3 000 bail each.
In a further tragic twist to the incident, two Crime Intelligence Unit constables who assisted with the investigation were involved in a horrific road accident just hours later, leaving one of them dead.
The deadly fracas in the early hours of Friday morning is alleged to have been sparked by the female guest, a mother of two, rebuffing the party host’s sexual overtures and him effectively holding the couple hostage by grabbing her husband’s car keys.
The names of the parties are known to POST but have been withheld because the accused have not yet pleaded.
The host suffered wounds to his chest, neck and head after being stabbed, allegedly with a knife used to cut oranges for tequila drinks. He died at the scene. His wife was stabbed in the neck and the chest and is in a hospital intensive care unit.
In court on Monday the accuseds’ attorney, Bob Bahadur, lashed out at the police for allegedly torturing his clients.
He told magistrate Vanitha Armu that police had poked the truck driver’s genitals with office pins to force him to talk.
“The man was also poked with the pins on his chest by police who had interrogated them about who was involved in the murder and attempted murder, and who had possessed the drugs that were found at the property,” he said.
“Police also covered the faces and heads of both accused with plastic bags and attempted to squeeze information from them by tightening the bags around their necks. The woman was also slapped.”
Bahadur told the court that the accused had told him that police had handcuffed them, even at the police station.
“When the handcuffs were removed, police tied their hands and legs,” he said.
“Police brutality must cease. Police officers who behave like hooligans and thugs must know that their behaviour will not be tolerated. I have been instructed to sue the police minister, the two police officers involved and their commander for damages in the Durban High Court,” said Bahadur.
The court said it had noted the allegations of police brutality.
The accused were ordered to appear again in November.
While there were few details in court about the events leading up to the murder, according to a reliable police source, the Redhill couple had advertised that they wanted to meet another couple on a local online classifieds network, which contained a series of posts for “couples seeking couples” or one for “swingers”.
The source said the couples had met for the first time about two weeks ago at the Redhill complex after making contact on line.
They then planned to meet again on Thursday evening (Heritage Day) at around 10pm.
“They were having drinks like tequila, Hunters Gold and Black Label beer. There was also a tin of dagga, Rizla paper and a card with white powder on it, but most of the drug, believed to be cocaine, was already used.
“It is not clear at this stage what really happened, but the female suspect, an administration manager at a real estate company, said she felt uncomfortable for some reason in the early hours of the next morning.
“She wanted to leave but the homeowner hid her car keys and allegedly told them no one was going anywhere.
“At around 3am, she said the man grabbed her hand and tried to restrain her. “There was no reason why he then pulled her to the back of the house.”
But her husband, the truck driver, allegedly grabbed a knife they had used to cut oranges for tequila and stabbed the homeowner.
The deceased’s wife was also stabbed.
According to the source, the couple grabbed the homeowner’s remote for the driveway gate and called a tow truck driver to remove their car from the property.
They were then dropped off at their residence in Phoenix.
While all this was happening the Redhill couple’s two daughters, aged 13 and 8, were asleep in their bedroom.
The children got up that morning and helped their mother, who had apparently still not called the police or paramedics for help.
They told her their father was unresponsive and the teenager ended up calling her grandmother.
The source said that when the domestic worker arrived, she called the police, who arrived after 8am.
Using the homeowner’s cellphone, they called the Phoenix couple but there was no response.
During the course of the day, the couple sought legal advice and their attorney subsequently called the police informing them of their whereabouts. They were then arrested.
A neighbour of the Redhill couple said they moved into the complex about four months ago.
Asked if she noticed random couples visiting the property, she said she had not.
TWO police officers who assisted in the arrest of the couple linked to the swingers attack were involved in a serious accident when their unmarked vehicle, a black VW Golf, overturned on the R102 in the early hours of Saturday.
Constable Kevin Gopichund, 25, pictured, died at the scene and his colleague, Constable Vishnu Tikkaram, 25, is in a stable condition at Umhlanga Hospital.
The pair, who are from Phoenix, were part of the Crime Intelligence Unit and were stationed at the Inanda and Greenwood Park police stations.
Gopichund’s sister, Jessica Moodley, said when her brother failed to return home that morning their mother became concerned and tried contacting him on his cellphone.
“A police officer answered the call and informed my mother that Kevin had been in an accident on the R102 near Gateway (mall). She was told to go to the scene.
“When we arrived we started looking for Kevin. There were about six ambulances lined up on the road and my other brother ran frantically to each one looking for Kevin, only to be told he died,” she said.
”We stood at the scene in shock. We were completely shattered. We expected to go to the scene and find him in an ambulance just injured.”
Moodley described her brother as a kind-hearted person who lived to help others.
“From the time Kevin was little he would always put the needs of people before his own. These qualities drew him towards the police force. After matriculating from Trenance Manor Secondary he worked at a bank, but later left to pursue his career as a police officer.”
She said her brother’s proudest moment was when he became a policeman.
“Everything was falling into place for him. His career was taking off; he planned to go to China next month because he wanted to open his own business; he was engaged to be married and was in the process of buying a house. We were so proud. Now our family are rallying together to support one another.”
Gopichund was cremated on Sunday. SAPS spokesman Major Thulani Zwane said a case of culpable homicide was being investigated by police and that the cause of the accident was unclear at this stage.
- Charlene Somduth