Phoenix triple murder accused Colin Pillay was under relentless pressure from the State in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Monday where he took the witness stand for the first time.
Pillay, a tow-truck driver and the sole accused in the 2018 murder of mother Jane Govindsamy and her two daughters Rackelle and Denisha, was visibly distressed as senior prosecutor Cheryl Naidu grilled him on his testimony.
One of the immediate discrepancies that Naidu pointed out was Pillay’s version of events following the murders of the family in September, 2018.
Pillay claimed to have spent the night gambling and fishing with his brother. He then visited a tavern, before spending the night at Kams Lodge in Phoenix with a female companion.
Naidu focused on Pillay’s claim that he had spent an entire night with the woman, saying that he was actually just “hiding out”.
“I will put to you that you were not there with anyone. You were hiding from police who eventually found you there.”
Naidu also said that Pillay’s initial statement, which claimed he was at an illegal gambling spot for a few hours in the evening, contained discrepancies.
Discussing the claim that he spent a few hours with several individuals gambling at the Plaza Park, Naidu said that, even though he claimed to have been in the company of many people, no one had confirmed this.
“You were charged for three murders, which is very serious. Did you not think to find these people to help exonerate you?”
Pushing on, Naidu said: “The reason you never told your lawyers to find these people, and the reason they have never appeared, is because they do not exist. You were never gambling.”
Pillay was also flustered when speaking about video footage that shows him throwing a knife into a bush, just a short distance from the murder scene.
Nervously, Pillay claimed to have found the knife on the road.
“When I came on the main road, I saw a knife on the road. It was someone’s fishing knife. I think it fell off someone’s motor vehicle as they were going past. As I picked the knife up, it was messed with bait. It was smelling of fish, so I threw it away.”
Jane Govindsamy, 44, and her daughter Rackelle, 16, were found dead by her husband at about 07.30am on September 21, 2018.
The body of their elder daughter, 22-year-old Denisha, was later found in a cupboard. It emerged in court that Pillay and Jane had been involved in an extramarital affair for nine years.