Drunken speedster convicted for family tragedy

Peter and Soundthie Pillay have found some closoure after the drunk driver who killed their son, Barry and his wife was convicted

Magistrate Bhekisitha Phoswa on Wednesday convicted Thamendren Pillay of two counts of culpable homicide and one count of defeating the ends of justice for the 2012 Bombay Road accident.
Thamendren who had been drinking and was intoxicated was driving his Opel Astra at high speed on Bombay Road when he tried overtaking on a bend and crashed into the Pillay family’s red Ford Escort killing Barry Christopher Pillay (43) and his wife Thamendree “Tammy” Pillay (41). The couple’s sons were seriously injured. Reagan (now 23) escaped with minor injuries and Rowan (now 16) was in critical condition at Grey’s Hospital.
On the fateful night, the Pillay family had been on their way to dinner as Reagan had just completed matric at Heather High School and his brother had finished Grade 6 at Regina Primary.
Reagan had previously told Public Eye, “We were going to have supper with my grandmother. We were just so happy. My dad told me to wear his Ferrari jacket. We jumped into the car and were about to leave but my father forgot his wallet so my mother went back to fetch it. We were just so happy.”
Before fleeing the accident scene, Thamendren asked a witness at the scene, Rowan Govender, to lie to police and say that he was the driver of the vehicle. Govender, who was one of the state’s witnesses, fingered Thamendren as the driver and his attempts to dodge responsibility.
Barry Pillay’s parents, Peter and Soundthie Pillay, said this week that Thamendren’s conviction gives them some closure, particularly as the convicted killer and liar, repeatedly denied ever being drunk

when the accident took place.
“Throughout the trial, he never admitted to what he did and always denied that he was drunk when the accident happened,” said Peter Pillay.
His wife Soundthie said Thamendren robbed them not only of their son and daughter-in-law but also robbed children of their parents.
“He really messed our happy lives up when he took my wonderful boy away from us and away from his children,” said the grieving mother and grandmother.
She expressed her dismay at losing a loved one, saying, “You will only know what the pain feels like when you lose someone you love.”
“Although we have long since forgiven in our hearts he has never come to us to apologise,” said Peter Pillay adding that his wife has been sickly since the tragedy five years ago.
Speaking to Public Eye at the time of the crash, Reagan had said that his father always warned him that someday he may not have his parents around.
“My father always told me that he and my mother would be gone one day and that I must take care of my brother. He prepared me for this but I did not know it would end this way,” he said.
Sentencing for the trial was adjourned to the January 22 by Magistrate Phoswa.
Thamendren Pillay’s lawyer Sergie Brimiah asked the court to extend bail to Pillay until the sentencing, pleading that his client is currently working, does not possess a passport, has not interfered with the victims’ family in any way, and will report to the local police station once every two days.
Magistrate denied bail stating that Thamendren was no longer accused of crimes but was now a convicted killer who repeatedly denied guilt and tried to mislead police to escape responsibility.

Byrone Athman

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