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Indian-origin man gets life for wife murder plot

Last Updated: Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 10:54

London: A South African man of Indian origin was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Durban court after he admitted paying two men 2,880 pounds for stage-managing a carjacking and killing his wife.

Rajive Sewnarain, 42, told investigators that he hired the men to ambush his own car on December 10 in Durban to shoot him in the shoulder to make the attack appear more realistic.

He was pushed out of the car moments before the hitman shot his wife Shanaaz, the mother of their two children, twice in the chest and once in the neck, British daily the Telegraph reported from Johannsburg.

The case bears considerable similarities to the murder of Indian-origin Swedish honeymooner Anni Dewani in an apparent carjacking in Cape Town last month, police said.

Dewani`s husband Shrien told police he was forced out of the car by two ambushers who went on to shoot his wife dead. Police are investigating allegations that Shrien paid two men and his taxi driver 1,400 pounds to kill his wife.

According to detectives who investigated the Durban case, Sewnarain, a truck repair company owner, admitted he had plotted his wife`s murder after they confronted him about inconsistencies in his story.

He told them that he and his wife had a volatile 20-year marriage that was fraught with arguments.

He said that when he was told by a man named Boxer that he could help him "take his wife out of his life", he agreed and paid him R30 000 (2,880 pounds).

On December 10, Sawnarain drove to the spot where the hitman duly jumped into the car. Police found Shanaaz`s body in the back of the car the same night; she had been shot twice in the chest and once in the neck. Under pressure from police, Sewnarain admitted his role within hours.

Magistrate Sharon Marks, while sentencing Sawnarain, said: "You deprived your children of their mother."

"You had many remedies to get rid of your spouse such as divorce or separation. This type of murder invokes the indignation of the public and requires a sentence which will ensure they do not take the law into their hands," she said.


First Published: Saturday, December 25, 2010 - 10:54

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