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Phoenix murder accused spent night with 'lady friend' hours after bodies were found

19 August 2019 - 17:56 By Lwandile Bhengu
Triple murder accused Collin Pillay speaks to his attorney, Amanda Hulley, in the Durban high court.
Triple murder accused Collin Pillay speaks to his attorney, Amanda Hulley, in the Durban high court.
Image: Jackie Clausen

Collin Pillay, the man charged with the murders of Jane Govindsamy and her two daughters, says he spent the night with a “lady friend” hours after discovering that his lover, Jane, had been murdered.  

Pillay took the stand for the first time on Monday. He told the court that he had been arrested at Kams guest lodge in Phoenix, Durban, after going there to meet a “lady friend” hours after the bodies were discovered in their two-bedroom flat.

“I went there because I knew that there would be some ladies there. I was going there to meet a specific lady,” he said. 

He told the court that he had booked a room for three to four hours in the early hours of September 22. He said he was asleep after the woman had left when police came knocking on his door at the lodge. 

He is charged with the murders of Govindsamy and her two daughters, Denisha, 22, and Rackelle, 16, at their home in Phoenix in 2018. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Pillay later told the court that Govindsamy’s daughters were aware of his nearly nine-year-long relationship with their mother and that they were his "friends".

“I had communication with Rackelle, not so much Denisha, via the phone. It wasn’t very often - only when she wanted to go for extra tuition and I would take her,” said Pillay. 

He told the court how he used to spend the night at the Govindsamy home when Jane’s husband,  Sagren, was working certain shifts. He explained that he would need to sneak in and out of the house because Denisha did not approve of the relationship. 

“I only came to the house when the big daughter wasn’t around because she was close to him. I used to sneak into the house and sit in the lounge quietly,” he said. 

Senior state prosecutor Cheryl Naidu put Pillay under pressure when she repeatedly questioned how he would sneak in and out of the house without being noticed by Denisha because the house was so small. 

“She was her dad's pet. If she knew anything, she would tell her dad. But over the years she adapted and got used to the fact that I was having an affair,” Pillay told the court. 

Naidu questioned Pillay on evidence he had given on how Jane would sometimes meet him outside the flat and sit in his car for three to four hours. She brought out cellphone records and asked Pillay to show her when he was at the house because the records did not place him in the area for longer than 30 minutes. 

“Show me in those records where you were in the Longcroft area for long periods,” she said, to which Pillay could not answer. 

At the beginning of her cross-examination, Naidu asked Pillay for his definition of a liar, saying she would show the court that he was “a stranger to the truth”. 

Pillay will continue on the witness stand on Tuesday. 


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