Dad’s grief as mom and daughters laid to rest
Devastated father and husband ‘robbed of his memories’
● 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.