Durban – After six years of waiting, the family of Manishvar Ramraj are hoping to receive justice for his murder on Tuesday.
Judgment and possible sentencing is expected today in the Durban High Court in the trial of Romano Naidoo, accused of murdering Ramraj.
“The past six years have been devastating for our family. Our lives have never been the same,” said Ramraj’s sister, Nevena Archary, who regularly attended the trial.
She spoke to the Daily News outside court yesterday after closing arguments were heard.
Archary said her brother’s reputation was tarnished based on the circumstances in which he died.
Ramraj was found dead in a bedroom at his grandmother’s house in Phoenix, with a gunshot wound to his head, in April 2013. His cellphone was stolen. The body was found clothed in lingerie.
Initially when Naidoo was arrested that year, he made admissions to police in a warning statement that he had been chatting with Ramraj on Mxit before the murder, and that he had been under the impression he was chatting to a woman.
But when the two arranged to meet, he found Ramraj, who was wearing a woman’s negligee.
In his version to police at that time, he said he had a gun and warned Ramraj not to approach him, but Ramraj continued to advance and Naidoo shot him.
However, during the trial evidence from a forensic pathologist revealed that Ramraj was either crouching or kneeling when he was shot.
Naidoo had pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, robbery with aggravated circumstances and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Archary said the family hoped justice would be served and that it would also clear her brother’s name.
“The lingerie, those items on him, never belonged to him. It was done to turn attention away from the murder.
“He (Naidoo) wanted the media to focus on that and not what was done to my brother,” she said.
Archary said they would have known if her brother was living a “double life” because they were a close-knit family. “He had no hidden agenda in his life. We shared a relationship that was an open book with each other as a family and siblings,” she said.
Archary described her brother as “very family-oriented” and someone who lived his life helping the sick, poor and elderly in his community.
“When our father passed away in 2000, he assumed the role of being my mom’s main supporter. He was killed at our granny’s house and he had been there to take care of her. She was first on the scene that day and it changed her life,” she said.
Naidoo’s mother, Rachel Naidoo, who also regularly attended court, said her family was still convinced police had arrested the wrong person because her son was not the kind of person who would be accused of murder.
“It was devastating when he was arrested. He did not have a criminal record. We were all crying when he was arrested on his birthday,” she said.
Naidoo will celebrate his 28th birthday on May 11.
She said the family was convinced of Naidoo’s innocence because they believed they “would have noticed if something was wrong”.