‘Son told me he didn’t mean it’

Uveer Jaganath is charged with the murder of his mother, whom he is alleged to have stabbed 20 times. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/ Independent Newspapers

Uveer Jaganath is charged with the murder of his mother, whom he is alleged to have stabbed 20 times. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/ Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 21, 2024


Durban — A Clare Estate man alleged to have killed his mother by stabbing her 20 times held her hand while she lay in a pool of blood, and told a neighbour that he was defending himself.

This is what Mohammed Shahzada told the Durban Regional Court on Thursday while testifying about what he had seen and heard in the Jaganath home on the day of the murder in May 2021.

Shahzada, who owns a security company and is a member of the Clare Hills Community Policing Forum, told the court how after being called to the scene by his daughter he had walked into Jessica Jaganath’s bedroom to find her drenched in blood. He said she died in his arms.

Uveer Jaganath is charged with the murder of his mother, whom he allegedly killed in their Clare Hills home.

Shahzada said when he walked into the house, he noticed blood on the staircase going into the passage that leads to the bedroom. He said there was a knife with a black handle on the stairs and a trail of blood in the passage.

“I noticed blood going out of the bathroom and noticed the accused’s legs sticking out of his mom’s bedroom … The accused’s back was slouched against the cupboard with his legs sticking out of the room. As I entered, I noticed four adults, the accused’s granddad Andy, Ravi (Andy’s older brother), and Ravi’s wife, who was seated on an ottoman, and there was a woman standing behind her, I don’t know who she was. The moment I entered, Andy was in tears, he was calling out to me, he was calling out Jessica’s name. Andy was trying to give her water to drink.”

He said the bed was bloodied and he told everyone to leave because it was a crime scene and it needed to be protected from contamination.

“I had to scream and swear for them to leave because they were so frantic. I noticed that the accused’s left hand was holding his mom’s right hand. Once everyone left and patrol had come, I told him to bring my first-aid bag …

“I bent down. Jessica was a modest person (and) she was exposed from the waist down, so I covered her with a sheet from her waist to her feet. I put my arms around her and tried to lift her neck, I could see stab wounds on her arms, chest and neck and there were some behind her, she was drenched in blood. I was trying to see where the blood was so I could stop the bleeding, there was so much blood. She tried talking to me, I asked her to tell me what happened. She looked at me and tried saying something, but she took her last breath. I checked her pulse and I knew she was gone.”

Shahzada said he then turned his attention to Uveer, who had stab wounds on his right thigh and was conscious.

“He was crying and I started talking to him and asked what happened. He said ‘I didn’t mean it’, (that) he was defending himself, then he closed his eyes.

“I gave him a smack, he looked at me, he told me he pushed her and he indicated with his hands. He closed his eyes again, for a second or two, and later opened them. He said there was a knife stuck in his mom’s back. He told me he pulled a knife out of his mom’s back, then he just kept quiet. By that time I had been patching him up,” said Shahzada.

Shahzada said Uveer had told him that had got into an argument with his mom over a pack of cigarettes she had found in his bag.

The accused has pleaded not guilty, and in his plea said that several hours before the incident, he had snorted 3 to 4 grams of cocaine, smoked cigarettes laced with cocaine, and also smoked some dagga joints.

He is out on R20 000 bail which was granted in the high court on appeal after it had been refused in the lower court.

The trial continues on Monday.

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