The taxi owner, allegedly arrested for the murder of a 64-year-old pensioner, was remanded back into custody after appearing in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
Patrick Hlongwa was arrested last Tuesday after allegedly running over Harichund Kandhailall, following a heated argument in the Verulam area.
The incident which was captured on video went viral on social media.
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A case of culpable homicide was initially reported after it was alleged that the deceased was walking on the pavement on Ireland Street when the driver who is also the owner of the taxi drove onto the pavement, allegedly knocking down Kandhailall.
Kandhailall was employed at Osindesweni Hospital and was at a local store purchasing oil for the vehicle.
Communications officer of Verulam SAPS, Cpt H Kisten, said, “There were no witnesses at this stage. The docket was given to the detectives to investigate. Detectives W/O Anesh Haridhan, Kelvin Moodley and Rajen Naidoo took over the investigation. The members viewed the security video footage at a supermarket nearby. It showed that the driver had apparently intentionally knocked down the pedestrian and the charge was changed to murder.”
Police worked tirelessly and were able to track down a witness. Statements were taken from people that were seen in the vicinity of the supermarket.
Through intense investigation and information gathering, a manhunt was launched to track down the suspect and his taxi. Verulam SAPS apprehended the driver and seized the purple taxi.
Cpt Kisten said, “It was established that the suspect was the owner of the taxi. He was charged and appeared in court before being remanded back into custody pending further investigations.”
Dawn Gounden of KTT Forensic Investigation and spokesperson for the family said the family is highly traumatised and emotional. They are trying to deal with the circumstances of his death.
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“After seeing the footage on social media, the family is disturbed that such a loving, kind-hearted soul could become the victim of such a heinous crime. On the day of the next bail application (October 25), a peaceful protest will be held in the hope that bail is denied. It is imperative that the community work in unison with the police and the family to bring closure and ensure justice is served,” she added.
Station commander, Brigadier Dludla, applauded the police officers for the professional manner in which they went about conducting their investigations which led to the arrest.
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