Trial of man who allegedly burnt girlfriend alive postponed

Nivashni ‘Jackie’ Naidoo. Picture: Supplied

Nivashni ‘Jackie’ Naidoo. Picture: Supplied

Published Apr 23, 2024


A YEAR before she burnt to death in her home, Nivashni ‘Jackie’ Naidoo, sustained extensive head injuries after her boyfriend allegedly hit her with a dumbbell.

Chilling details have emerged in the court indictment, of the years of physical and mental abuse Naidoo allegedly suffered at the hands of Shaun Naicker, 38.

Naicker, her partner of four years, who lived with Naidoo and her 12-year-old son in her flat in Wareham, Phoenix, is charged with murder, arson and theft.

He appeared in the Durban High Court on Monday, for the start of his trial.

Naidoo’s home was set alight while she was inside, a day after Mother’s Day in 2022.

On that day, she was expecting a protection order to be served on Naicker.

Shaun Naicker. Picture: Supplied

She suffered extensive burns and was found dead in her bed.

Naicker is also charged with attempted murder after he allegedly hit Naidoo with a dumbbell about a year before her death, leaving her with extensive head injuries.

According to the indictment: “On the evening of Saturday, June 26, 2021, Naicker and Naidoo were in their flat. Naicker was intoxicated. They argued and he left the flat. He returned in the early hours of the morning and assaulted the complainant repeatedly on the head with an iron bar. She was subsequently hospitalised.”

On May 9, 2022, Naicker allegedly physically abused and killed Naidoo in her home.

“Naicker and Naidoo were alone in the flat. In circumstances unknown to the state, the accused set fire to the flat using an accelerant. He removed items including Naidoo’s ID document, her vehicle - a VW Polo 6 TSI - her valuables including three cell phones, a tablet, a laptop, jewellery and sunglasses.

“He fled the scene in her car, leaving her in her flat. The accused died in the fire. The cause of death was determined as thermal burns. The State is awaiting a report for carbon monoxide levels,” the indictment said.

The flat was destroyed in the fire.

Naicker’s trial was adjourned, after he told the court that he wanted to change his attorney.

He said he was “uncomfortable” with being represented by Legal Aid attorney, Zeera Fareed, and felt that he would not have a fair trial if she defended him.

Despite Fareed’s prior consultations with Naicker, where she said he had not indicated to her that he was “uncomfortable”, he appealed to acting Judge Kevin Gounden to allow him to engage a different attorney.

He said his request was “due to the seriousness of the charges” against him.

State prosecutor, Advocate Thabani Buthelezi, said the State was “in the dark” and did not know the exact grounds for him wanting a different attorney.

Buthelezi argued that there were no language barriers and said there were insufficient grounds for Naicker’s request.

“They both speak the same language. They are also of the same race. We are in the dark as to why he is uncomfortable. The State opposes this. We want to know why, on the day of the trial, he wants to change counsel,” Buthelezi said.

Fareed said she felt her integrity was being questioned.

Gounden granted Naicker’s request and warned him that he could not “just chop and change counsel”.

Fareed was granted leave to withdraw as Naicker’s defence.

Naicker will be appointed a new Legal Aid attorney and his trial will commence later this month.

Speaking outside court, Naidoo’s family said they were still traumatised by the circumstances surrounding her death.

They said her son was struggling to cope with her death and was receiving ongoing trauma counselling.