South Africa, Durban – Two days before her death, Sherne Pillay told her mother she planned to break up with her boyfriend. Last Saturday, the day she told her mother she would inform him of her decision, she was found dead in her flat with a cable tied around her neck.
The 27-year-old, who was a make-up artist, told her mother about her decision while they were together for her son’s sixth birthday.
The son lived with his grandmother.
“She said that Saturday was going to be her last day with him.
“She was going to leave him for good,” recalled Nadira Pillay.
“She said to me, ‘mom, I am going to leave him.
“I made a promise to God that I am going to leave him.
“I don’t even know why I’m still with him because I’m not happy and I no longer love him’.”
It is believed that at some point on Saturday the boyfriend left the apartment he shared with Sherne in Berea.
When he returned around 7 pm, he allegedly called his father and told him Sherne was locked inside the house.
The father went to the flat with a locksmith who opened the door.
Inside the bathroom, they found Sherne dead.
It is believed there was a cable tie around her neck and there were bruises on her face and body.
Paramedics who were called to the scene confirmed she was dead.
Colonel Thembeka Mbele, a provincial police spokesperson, confirmed the death and said Berea SAPS were investigating a case of murder.
“It is alleged on November 28, 2020, at 10.50 pm, the body of a 27-year-old woman was found with injuries on her body. She was certified dead by paramedics.
“A 37-year-old suspect was placed under arrest,” said Mbele.
Pillay, 56, who lives in Asherville, in Overport, said Sherne dated the boyfriend for just over a year.
“They had a very toxic relationship.
“He was always paranoid if Sherne wasn’t next to him and he would leave many missed calls on her phone.
“He dealt in drugs and his behavior was very obsessive.”
She said the two started living together about two months ago, in a flat that the boyfriend rented.
After a few weeks, she left him and moved to Joburg where she hoped to make a fresh start in life.
“When she left him, he would cry and beg her to come back to him.
“He promised he would change.
“Sometimes he even threatened to commit suicide as a way to manipulate her emotions.
“My daughter thought she could help him change and returned.”
Pillay, a mother of four, described Sherne as a free-spirited individual who accepted people as they were.
“She would always tell us not to judge people and believed in giving others the benefit of the doubt.
“I believe that was her weakness and I guess he took advantage of that.
“I am so broken right now.
“My baby has been taken away from me and my heart is broken into a million pieces.
“The mere thought of not talking to her every day is killing me inside.”
Kaps Naidu, who was still legally married to Sherne as her husband and is the father of her son, said her killer had robbed them of their love and joy.
“The hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is tell my son that his mother is never coming home… trying to make him understand that God has a plan for everyone and everything.
“Nothing will make me believe that she took her own life when our son is what she had so much to live for,” said Naidu.
He said he and Sherne had been separated for four years and that she wanted to leave her boyfriend and mend their family.
“I really hope the justice system doesn’t fail this poor woman because she didn’t deserve to die like that.”
Sherne’s funeral service will be held today (Wednesday) at the Emmanuel Church, Cactus Lane, in Asherville.
Her death comes at a time the country is marking the 16 Days of Activism of no Violence Against Women and Children campaign.
The campaign, which started on November 25 and continues until December 10, aims to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and children and to permanently rid society of this abuse.
On the eve of the campaign, President Cyril Ramaphosa called for a national day of mourning to commemorate the lives lost to gender-based violence and Covid-19 for this year’s 16 Days of Activism campaign.
In one of his recent messages to the country, he said: “The 16 Days of Activism campaign affirms the need for all sectors of society to play their part in the fight against gender-based violence.”
He added: “Above all, we salute the neighbour who opens her home to a vulnerable mother and her children; the co-worker who accompanies a survivor to the hospital, police station or shelter; and the friend who does not stand by and watch a woman or child being abused, but intervenes.”
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Ebrahim Chohan, 37, of Overport, who was arrested and charged with Sherne’s murder appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
State prosecutor, Calvin Govender, said the State would oppose bail.
He said the accused and the deceased were in a domestic relationship and that the deceased was found with a cable tie around her neck.
She was also bleeding from her nose and she had bruising to her face.
The matter was adjourned to next week, to allow Chohan to seek legal counsel, and for bail consideration.
Chohan, who began to cry, said there were “people there who saw her inside the bathroom“.
“She was inside.
“She was normal… I thought she was sleeping.
“There was a locksmith who came and opened the door.”
Magistrate Vanitha Armu advised him to wait for his attorney.
She told him that anything he told the court now, would be held against him in his trial.