Durban – The estate agent who was one of the three men who were involved in the murder of a much loved Chatsworth principal Gonapathy Pillay was the mastermind behind the incident the Durban High Court was told on Tuesday as the judgement was handed down.
Basil Underhill an estate agent intern from Pam Golding smiled as he walked out of the dock shortly after Judge Naresh Bhika found him, his cousin Bravemam Underhill and Fredboy Msomi – the man who was supposed to be the buyer for the Pillay’s home guilty of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstance.
Retired Chatsworth couple Loganathan Pillay, 70, and his wife Gonapathy welcomed their attackers into their home, fed them coffee and cake, and gave them bananas from their garden before they were set upon.
Pillay, who survived the attack with several stab wounds, told the Durban High Court that they were under the impression that the estate agent, Basil, was introducing them to a potential buyer.
Basil shook his lawyer Shaheen Seedat’s hand and then blew a kiss to the people sitting in the court gallery as he exited the court.
He greeted the members of the media and spoke briefly with his lawyer, still smiling and showing no emotion.
One of his family members, a woman who sat at the back of the court cried as Basil walked down to the court holding cells.
Judge Bhika said from the evidence of cellphone records, Basil had been communicating with Mrs Pillay even before the day of the incident.
He said if Pillay had not survived, on the night, Basil thought he had a good alibi and no one could have known what happened as he thought that both Pillay and his wife had died.
“The reason why he agreed to meet the police was that he thought no one had survived and that he thought he had a good alibi to distance himself from the incident,” said Bhika.
Sentencing was expected on Wednesday.
Ricky Naidoo, the Chairperson of Bayview Policing Forum said it was clear that they all acted in common purpose.
” We hope that the conviction will send out a strong message. The Bayview detectives and the investigating officer had done an excellent job in putting the men behind bars,” he said.