Suspended sentence for man who killed his wife because he loved her
He killed her because he loved her and wanted to please her - and he would have to live with that his entire life.
These were the words of Durban High Court judge Shyam Gyanda when he gave Phoenix granddad Nundkumaran Pillay a wholly suspended sentence for the murder of his wife Dhanalutchmee Naidoo at their home a month ago.
Pillay, 61, pleaded guilty to the crime, saying his wife, who had been bedridden for three years, had begged him to kill her.
"She asked me so many times to do it. She could not live with the pain anymore. And she could not live with me having to care for her, to be at her beck and call and do everything for her," Pillay told the court.
On the day he finally succumbed to her wishes, the couple had cried and held each other.
He then took a pillow and attempted to smother her. She pushed him away and told him to use the knife. So he did, and he stabbed her once in the throat.
He then phoned his brother and his neighbours and told them what he had done before walking to the local police station and handing himself over.
In evidence in mitigation of sentence, Pillay said: "Even my worst day with her would feel better than these days without her."
Judge Gyanda said: "Nothing this court can do will punish him more. He is already serving a sentence.
"Their love was such that he did things to keep her happy. He stabbed her because she repeatedly asked him to."
The couple - who never formally married - had been together for more than 40 years and had two children.
Naidoo never received a diagnosis for her condition because she refused to go to hospitals after once spending a whole day in a queue without being seen to.
She also rebuffed Pillay's attempts to place her in a frailcare facility, saying she only wanted to be with him.
The couple had very little money. They each received a state pension but spent half of that on rent.
Pillay's daughter-in-law, Hazel Pillay, told the judge that he would often come by the house to get bread and once he had borrowed money from her own parents for food.
She said she had forgiven him.
"I know he wouldn't do it out of hatred. I know he loved her. He is not a bad person."
Judge Gyanda agreed.
"He only left the house when he had to. She didn't want him out of her sight.
"It cannot be denied that he loved her … that they were a loving couple."
Senior state advocate Cheryl Naidu argued that Pillay ought to have insisted that Naidoo go for treatment and that he did not have to listen to his wife.
But the judge said he did not agree.
"He did not desire her death ... he wanted to take care of her."
Regarding submissions by Naidu that anything less than a prison sentence would be a "slap on the wrist" and send out the wrong message to society, the judge said each case had to be judged on its merits.
"In this matter, there is no prospect of him committing a similar crime again. There is no purpose in sending him to prison," he said sentencing him to five years, suspended for five years.
Pillay, who has been in custody, wiped tears from his eyes and left court with his daughter-in-law with whom he will now live.