Sunday Times

Dad’s grief as mom and daugh­ters laid to rest

Dev­as­tated father and hus­band ‘robbed of his mem­o­ries’

- By NIVASHNI NAIR Crime · Phoenix · KwaZulu-Natal · Tonga · Belgium · Somalia · Iceland · United States of America · Durban · Miami · Alexander Martin

● As a mur­dered mother and her two daugh­ters were cre­mated yes­ter­day, a dev­as­tated hus­band and father des­per­ately sought an­swers to the tragedy.

“You took away my fam­ily, now you are rob­bing me of my mem­o­ries of my wife. What more do you want?”

Sa­gren Govin­d­samy di­rected a for­lorn plea to their al­leged mur­derer, a man said to have had a nine-year af­fair with his wife.

“I am hurt­ing even more to hear this claim. I can’t ask my wife what went on. Only God and the sus­pect know the truth and I will wait for the case in court.”

Govin­d­samy spoke to the Sun­day Times on the eve of the fu­ner­als.

Jane Govin­d­samy‚ 44‚ and her daugh­ters Den­isha‚ 22‚ and Rack­elle, 16, were mur­dered last week in their flat in Phoenix, KwaZulu-Na­tal.

Colin Pil­lay, 45, ap­peared in the Veru­lam mag­is­trate’s court this week in con­nec­tion with the mur­ders.

Govin­d­samy said his 22-year mar­riage to his high school sweet­heart had been happy.

But neigh­bours and friends told an­other story. They said that Pil­lay’s grim pres­ence at the mur­der scene last week had not sur­prised them.

They had of­ten seen Pil­lay when he vis­ited Jane at the flat while Govin­d­samy was at work.

Pil­lay and Jane’s af­fair was “com­mon knowl­edge” in the Ry­dal­vale com­mu­nity, ac­cord­ing to friends and neigh­bours.

“He would al­ways park his car a block away and then walk to Jane’s flat. He would never greet or look us in the eye if we were out­side,” said a neigh­bour who did not want to be named.

Just hours af­ter the mur­ders, Pil­lay was ar­rested and charged.

No an­swer to his knocks

Govin­d­samy re­turned home on Thurs­day night, Septem­ber 20, af­ter his shift had ended at 10pm. He did not have a key to the flat and no-one an­swered his knocks, so he spent the night at his mother’s house.

He told po­lice that his wife and daugh­ters of­ten went out with his in-laws when he worked late.

The next morn­ing, he went back to the flat and en­tered through a win­dow.

He found his wife’s body in her bed­room and Rack­elle’s in the sec­ond bed­room. Both had been gagged. He didn’t find Den­isha, so he ran out­side and shouted for her. He asked neigh­bours if they had seen her.

“I was still pray­ing that Den­isha was alive,” he said. “But then I heard the po­lice say they were bring­ing out one more body. That hit me even more badly.”

Snif­fer dogs had found Den­isha’s body in a wardrobe in the bed­room.

Pil­lay is in cus­tody and will ap­pear at a bail hear­ing on Wed­nes­day.

Govin­d­samy has urged so­cial me­dia users to stop post­ing spec­u­la­tion about an in­sur­ance pay­out, or that Jane was plan­ning to end her nine-year re­la­tion­ship with Pil­lay.

“I don’t know the mo­tive for tak­ing my fam­ily away. I am be­ing treated as a sus­pect be­cause there is a ru­mour that I or­ches­trated the killings to ben­e­fit from a life in­sur­ance. I do not have any life poli­cies,” he said.

Speak­ing from Mi­ami in the US, a for­mer col­league of Den­isha, Alexan­der Martin, said she had been a woman full of life.

He met Den­isha when she worked at a call cen­tre in Dur­ban.

She had helped set up the Mi­ami com­pany’s busi­ness in SA.

Den­isha’s work per­for­mance won her a trip to Mi­ami last year.

“It was a trip of a life­time. And then, when she got back, as soon as she landed at the air­port, she got pro­posed to by her fi­ancé, so it was the per­fect cul­mi­na­tion of a trip of a life­time,” Martin said.

Den­isha’s friend, Brooke Vur­den, said Den­isha and her fi­ancé, Ma­caelin Pa­day­achee, be­came en­gaged in Au­gust last year and were plan­ning their wed­ding for early next year.

Jane and her daugh­ters were cre­mated in Phoenix yes­ter­day.

 ??  ?? Sa­gren Govin­d­samy breaks down yes­ter­day at the fu­neral ser­vice for his wife and daugh­ters.
Sa­gren Govin­d­samy breaks down yes­ter­day at the fu­neral ser­vice for his wife and daugh­ters.
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 ?? Pic­tures: Rajesh Jan­ti­lal ?? Mur­der vic­tims Rack­elle, Jane and Den­isha Govin­d­samy, above, were laid to rest yes­ter­day af­ter a fu­neral ser­vice at the Faith Re­vival Cen­tre in Dur­ban, right.
Pic­tures: Rajesh Jan­ti­lal Mur­der vic­tims Rack­elle, Jane and Den­isha Govin­d­samy, above, were laid to rest yes­ter­day af­ter a fu­neral ser­vice at the Faith Re­vival Cen­tre in Dur­ban, right.

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