Men accused of murdering Gona Pillay appear unemotional in court

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Durban – The three men accused of murdering retired Durban principal Gona Pillay appeared unemotional on Tuesday as a packed court gallery – filled mainly with angry Chatsworth residents – looked on.

The well dressed trio – cousins Basil and Braveman Underhill, and Fredboy Msomi – made a brief appearance in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s court, where, hours earlier, a large group of residents had gathered outside to demand that bail be denied.

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The court heard that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) would oppose bail. Their reasons would be heard at the formal bail hearing next week. The matter was postponed to October 3.

Among the first arrests was Basil Underhill, a 24-year-old Pam Golding Properties intern, who was charged with house robbery, murder and attempted murder. Article continues below…

Police nabbed his cousin Braveman on Monday night. It is unclear when Msomi was arrested. A fourth accused was still being sought by police.

Authorities previously said they were “hot on the heels” of more suspects.

‘Stabbed to death’

Pillay, 63, was stabbed to death last Wednesday evening after four men, posing as potential property buyers, attacked her and her husband Logie, also a former principal. The Pillays had put their house on the market.

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The pensioner was stabbed several times and died in her Chatsworth home, while her husband, who was also stabbed, is in critical condition in hospital.

Chairperson of the Bayview Community Policing Forum Brandon Pillay said police were expected to arrest the last accused on Tuesday or Wednesday.

“We hope that, by their bail hearing next week, the last suspect will also appear.”

Pillay added that residents were out in their numbers because they were “tired of crime”.

Another resident Eugene Ishwarlall said: “The community of Chatsworth are tired of these types of crimes. We are here to make a statement and say, they must not get bail.

“Mrs Pillay was a stern and well-respected member of our society. She was a wonderful person. For our community to lose someone like her is truly a sad affair.”

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Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “To kill her in that manner, and also critically injure her husband, is behaving like an animal.”

Pam Golding shocked and deeply saddened

Pam Golding CEO Andrew Golding has distanced the property group from its employee.

“Needless to say, we are shocked and deeply saddened at this terrible news. Our deepest condolences will be extended to the family, friends and community associated with the victims of this awful event.”

Golding said he would keep the public informed of “any progress in this matter, as and when further information becomes available”.

eThekwini Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer welcomed the arrests and denounced the attack on the couple.

“This killing was a heinous crime committed by cowards, targeting an elderly couple. When I was alerted to this incident, I was shocked. Why would someone enter a home under false pretenses to steal but [then] kill an innocent person in the process?”

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