Rather than face fam­ily, cow­ardly hus­band hangs him­self

The Independent on Saturday - - FRONT PAGE - TANYA WATERWORTH

SEELAN Naidu was a cow­ard who hanged him­self in prison rather than face the con­se­quences of his ac­tions.

Act­ing Judge Joe Nxu­sani said this about the hus­band and fa­ther be­hind the mur­der of Malvern mother, Nalin Naidu, dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing of killers Phumla Mat­seke, 45, and Si­fiso Nkosi, 35, in the Dur­ban Mag­is­trate’s Court yes­ter­day.

While Mat­seke and Nkosi – who was a po­lice­man – were iden­ti­fied as the ring­leaders in the plot to kill Nalin in Oc­to­ber 2014, it was her hus­band, Seelan who was named as the mas­ter­mind be­hind the grue­some killing.

He died in prison while await­ing trial in Jan­uary 2016, with the cause of death un­con­firmed un­til yes­ter­day’s sen­tenc­ing.

As the fi­nal chap­ter played out in court yes­ter­day in what has been a long four years for Nalin’s fam­ily, Nkosi was sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment for mur­der and 15 years for kid­nap­ping with both sen­tences to run con­cur­rently.

Mat­seke was also sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment for mur­der and 10 years for kid­nap­ping, also to run con­cur­rently.

As Nxu­sani de­liv­ered the sen­tences, the gallery erupted into cheers and clap­ping – and a pal­pa­ble sense of re­lief – af­ter an emo­tional day for fam­i­lies of the vic­tim and the ac­cused.

Ear­lier yes­ter­day, there was high drama when Nkosi, who was in the dock, swore at Nalin’s fam­ily and friends seated in the gallery, with a po­lice of­fi­cer hav­ing to warn both par­ties to re­main calm.

Nalin was kid­napped on Oc­to­ber 29 af­ter be­ing lured into a trap by her hus­band and Mat­seke, who worked for the cou­ple.

Nkosi was driv­ing the ve­hi­cle with two hit­men, Zwe­lakhe Ma­phu­mulo and Gcina Mag­waza.

The court heard Nalin was pushed into the ve­hi­cle by her hus­band and how she begged for her life as Ma­phu­mulo held a knife to her throat as they drove to Shong­weni Dam.

“She must have seen death in the eyes of the peo­ple in the car with her. She must have seen the hor­ror of what was go­ing to hap­pen,” said Nxu­sani.

Heart­bro­ken sobs were heard in gallery as the act­ing judge re­counted the hor­ri­fy­ing de­tails of Nalin’s death, say­ing “the knife was used to gar­rot the de­ceased, she had no chance what­so­ever”.

Af­ter her throat was slit, her body was thrown into a ditch and, be­fore be­ing dis­cov­ered later that day, be­came badly burned in the sun.

The ev­i­dence showed that Nalin was ap­pre­hen­sive about ap­proach­ing the car when Seelan had set up a meet­ing be­tween her and Mat­seke to col­lect some forms.

“If only she had lis­tened to her fem­i­nine in­tu­ition, but she gave in to her hus­band. But even if she had lis­tened to her in­tu­ition, her hus­band was hell-bent that day on killing her.

“Seelan Naidu was a cow­ard who, rather than face his fam­ily, chose a hang­man’s noose in prison.

“We will never know what mo­ti­vated him to have his wife killed,” said Nxu­sani.

Lawyer for the ac­cused pair, Hy­centh Mlotshwa, asked the court that life im­pris­on­ment not be im­posed, stat­ing nei­ther of the ac­cused had any crim­i­nal his­tory, al­though Mat­seke had ad­mit­ted to de­fraud­ing med­i­cal aids dur­ing the case. They both have chil­dren and nei­ther of the two had phys­i­cally at­tacked Nalin.

But State advocate De­nardo Mac­Don­ald, de­scrib­ing it as “a crime of greed not need”, said the ac­cused led the metic­u­lous plan­ning and car­ry­ing out of the mur­der, which in­cluded find­ing and hir­ing the two killers.

In pass­ing sen­tence, Nxu­sani said the ac­cused had col­lected pay­ment from Seelan af­ter the mur­der and then cel­e­brated with Ma­phu­mulo and Mag­waza, who have al­ready been sen­tenced to 30 and 22 years re­spec­tively.

“They showed no mercy, but to­day they come to this court ask­ing for the very mercy she was de­prived of,” he said.

He said nei­ther of the ac­cused had shown re­morse and had gone into hid­ing for eight months be­fore be­ing tracked down by po­lice, as well as the fact that Nkosi was a po­lice­man at the time of the mur­der, who should have been up­hold­ing the law.

Nalin’s fam­ily gath­ered out­side court.

Her son, Ty­ron, said he was happy with the sen­tences, while her brother, Pas­tor Terry Jugdeo said: “My sis­ter Nalin was a ma­jor strength in my fam­ily. It’s been four years and my mother still cries every sin­gle day. The jus­tice sys­tem and pro­vin­cial task force have been amaz­ing.”

An­other brother, Raj Kr­ish­na­pal, said: “We are very sat­is­fied with the out­come. We can rest easy, al­though we will never have the joy and hap­pi­ness we once had, jus­tice has been served. Seelan took the easy way out by hang­ing him­self in prison.”

| SIBUSISO NDLOVU African News Agency (ANA)

MUR­DER vic­tim, Nalin Naidu’s fam­ily gather out­side court: Raj Kr­ish­na­pal, Anesh Ram­per­sadh, Shanti Bis­soon, Ty­ron Naidu, Shaleen Jay Narain and Pas­tor Terry Jugdeo.

CON­VICTED mur­der­ers of Malvern mother Nalin Naidu, Si­fiso Nkosi and Phumla Mat­seke, cover their faces in the dock.

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