Sus­pect gets off mur­der rap


THE fam­ily of slain Nela Mu­ru­gan be­lieved they were one step closer to get­ting jus­tice af­ter a sus­pect was ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the mur­der.

But they were left shat­tered af­ter the ac­cused was re­leased be­cause of a lack of ev­i­dence.

Mu­ru­gan, 75, who lived alone, was found stran­gled in her home a month ago by neigh­bours.

A 22-year-old woman was charged with her mur­der and ap­peared in the Le­na­sia Mag­is­trate’s Court on Mon­day.

Le­na­sia SAPS spokesper­son, Cap­tain Hector Net­shiv­hodza, said the woman was ar­rested af­ter po­lice pub­lished an iden­tikit of the wanted sus­pect, but she was re­leased be­cause of the lack of ev­i­dence.

Mu­ru­gan’s sis­ter, Viji, said she was an­gry.

“We hoped we could now get some an­swers, but that is all gone. We were given false hope and that’s not fair,” she said.

“There have been too many at­tacks on the el­derly and it needs to stop. Th­ese crim­i­nals must be brought to book. If they wanted to rob my sis­ter, then they should have done it. Why take her life?”

Viji said she would not for­get the day she learnt Mu­ru­gan had been killed.

“I was told she passed on. When I ar­rived at her home, I saw po­lice in her yard and was in­formed I could not go into the house. I re­alised some­thing dread­ful had hap­pened and my heart sank.”

She said Mu­ru­gan was trust­ing and would not harm a fly.

“Nela was frail and suf­fered with Parkin­son’s dis­ease. Her at­tacker took ad­van­tage of her be­cause she was weak.”

Viji said her sis­ter, a widow, did not have chil­dren.

Preyalan Pil­lay, a mem­ber of the Com­mu­nity Polic­ing Fo­rum, said at one stage at­tacks on the el­derly was com­mon un­til pa­trols were in­creased.

Things seemed to have set­tled down, he said.

“The death of Mu­ru­gan has left the com­mu­nity in shock. We will con­tinue our pa­trols and crime aware­ness in the hope that this does not hap­pen again.”

Pil­lay ad­vised res­i­dents to be more cau­tious.

“Don’t trust and en­ter­tain peo­ple too eas­ily. Al­ways have your guard up. When hir­ing peo­ple, like gar­den­ers or do­mes­tic work­ers, make sure you get all their in­for­ma­tion.”

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