Witness recalls how murdered mom was found in pool of blood

Jessica Jaganath was stabbed 20 times, allegedly by her son who is on trial in the Durban Regional Court. | Supplied

Jessica Jaganath was stabbed 20 times, allegedly by her son who is on trial in the Durban Regional Court. | Supplied

Published Jun 19, 2024


Durban — Relatives of a Clare Estate woman, whose son is on trial after allegedly stabbing her 20 times and killing her, walked into the house to find the woman alive in a pool of blood while her son sat in a daze on the stairs leading to the bedroom where she was.

These details were told to the Durban Regional Court on Tuesday during the trial of Uveer Jaganath.

Ravi Jaganath, who is the brother of Uveer’s grandfather and lives next door to them, was the first State witness to be called to the stand.

Uveer lived with his parents and grandfather in their home where his mother, Jessica Jaganath, was found by Ravi and his wife after they had heard an unsettling scream from Uveer’s grandfather Andy.

“We went inside, we followed Andy in, he was dumbfounded. We followed him up the stairs to the bedroom. The accused was sitting on top of the stairs, he appeared kind of dazed.

“What we saw there, I don’t want to recall it because I’ll break down and I don’t hope for anyone to see that. I saw blood all over the place. Jessica was there on the floor, there was blood all over her and she looked at me,” said Ravi.

Uveer pleaded not guilty to the murder, claiming he has no recollection of what happened and is only able to remember the moments before and after the murder.

In his not-guilty plea, he told the court how earlier in the day, while on campus, he had snorted 3-4 grams of cocaine and smoked dagga and cigarettes laced with cocaine, and that when he got home he and his mother had a heated argument over cigarettes she had found in his bag.

Uveer is out on R20 000 bail which was granted to him in the Durban High Court in 2021 on appeal after he was refused bail in the lower court.

His defence told the court the accused had been examined by two psychiatrists who had prepared a joint medico-legal report attached to his plea.

Part of the report includes a scan of the accused’s brain which showed significant hypoperfusion (inadequate blood flow) of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain “in a patchy distribution”.

Ravi told the court he had to throw away his shoes after stepping in the pool of blood in the bedroom, and his wife, who had cradled Jessica, trying to get her to sit up, had to throw her bloodstained dress away.

Ravi said when he was in the bedroom he had his back to the door and heard his brother say, “Please save my grandson”, and when he turned he saw Uveer had collapsed in the passage.

“I think he was going back to the bedroom and saw the condition of his mom and passed out. I walked over to the toilet, wet my handkerchief and wiped his face and he came around again, he got his senses back and regained consciousness. He did not say anything to me. I didn’t ask him what happened.”

Senior State prosecutor advocate Shah was leading Ravi in his evidence on Tuesday and during his cross-examination by advocate Paddy Prior instructed by attorney Bob Bahadur, Ravi said when he passed Uveer on his way to the bedroom where Jessica was, he had not noticed any injuries on him.

Prior put it to him that Uveer had four wounds: three on his upper leg and one on the side of his abdomen.

In his plea, Uveer said: “I had no reason to kill my mother and in the past, she often would reprimand me not to use cigarettes and drugs and on occasions would raise her hands and slap me across the face.”

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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