Mogamberry Rajen Kandasamy appeared stoic and emotionless as Durban High Court Judge Shyam Gyanda said he had been found guilty on Tuesday of bludgeoning his wife and two children to death. He was then sentenced to life in prison.
The judge said remorse was the first steps towards rehabilitation but that Kandasamy had not shown any.
“Until you accept responsibility for your actions, your road to recovery will be a long one,” he said.
After spending the night out with friends, Kandasamy and his wife, “Mala”, returned to their Chatsworth home early on the morning of December 29, 2013.
After Mala went to bed, Kandasamy bludgeoned her to death with a Hanuman stick (used by the Hindu deity).
Confronted by his two teenage children – Merlarisa, 18, and Megandran, 16 – Kandasamy killed them too.
He then fled.
Kandasamy had pleaded not guilty to the murders, saying he had been drinking that night and could not remember anything but that burglars were responsible.
Judge Gyanda, however, did not buy this defence.
Kandasamy did initially make a statement to police, in which he confessed to the murders.
Kandasamy later recanted his confession, but his statement was still admitted as evidence.
Gyanda said on Tuesday that Kandasamy had, in that statement, detailed the events of that morning and so he did remember them.
When Kandasamy’s brother told him that his family had been murdered, Kandasamy did not ask him what had happened, Gyanda said.
“Why?” he said, “Because he knew what he had done and he knew exactly what would happen.”
As for the notion that burglars had broken in, killed Mala and the children and ransacked the house, Gyanda said this was “too far-fetched”.
He said that police had found no sign of forced entry and valuables had been left behind.
Evidence brought before the court indicated that the couple was experiencing marital problems.
“I have a theory,” Gyanda said. “It appears to me that what caused these events to unfold was that the deceased indicated to the accused that she was not changing her mind about divorcing him.”
The judge called the manner in which Mala and the children were murdered, “particularly brutal”.
“This was a very personal assault, directed at their heads. It was intended to kill and not to maim,” he said.
He said Kandasamy had destroyed three lives.
“These children were deprived of the right to grow, to blossom and to go out into the world,” he said. “Their lives were snuffed out.”
On domestic violence, the judge said that the idea that women and children somehow belonged to men and had to “toe the line or face the consequences” belonged in the dark ages.
“They don’t belong to you. You are supposed to protect them and nurture them,” he said.
Kandasamy was handed down three life sentences – one for each murder – but they will run concurrently.
Samuels told the court he would take instructions regarding a possible appeal.
Speaking outside court, Mala’s sister, Vanessa Chetty, said the last three years had been a traumatic time for the entire family but that Kandasamy’s guilty verdict brought with it some closure and peace.
They had felt that they had to see the trial through, for Mala and the children.