'I stabbed my wife 45 times'

A 37-year-old Durban man yesterday pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife 45 times before driving into Durban's harbour in a bid to cover up the murder.

A 37-year-old Durban man yesterday pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife 45 times before driving into Durban's harbour in a bid to cover up the murder.

"I'm very sorry at what transpired," said Dhanendra Heeralall, the soft-spoken father of two, as he sat in the dock at the Durban high court.

Heeralall stabbed his wife Pritheshnee at least 45 times and then drove into the harbour on the night of June 28.

When he was rescued by a nearby ship's crew, he claimed he had been hijacked by two men brandishing knives. But, no bodies of alleged hijackers were ever recovered by police divers.

Giving evidence in mitigation of sentencing Heeralall told the court his wife was having an affair and that about two weeks before the fateful night he discovered a photograph of her embracing another man.

On the night she was murdered she received a phone call and was overheard by her husband saying: "Anand, please stop ringing me. I'm with my husband." Anand was the man with whom she was allegedly having an extramarital affair.

Advocate Thiagaraj Pillay said Judge Vivienne Niles-Dunér and her assessor should take into account that Heeralall was a first- time offender and had shown remorse by volunteering for rehabilitation programmes.

State prosecutor Bhabha Khumalo argued that Heeralall had only shown remorse because of the strength of the state's case.

"He killed his own wife, a person he was supposed to protect," he said.

Khumalo said domestic violence cases where murder was involved were on the increase and that if a lenient sentence was imposed, the wrong perception would be created.

Sentence will be handed down today. - Sapa

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