A Pretoria West constable, accused of murdering a colleague after becoming involved in a love triangle with the man’s partner, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and robbery in the High Court in Pretoria.
Constable Rishen Rampersad, 24, denied any involvement in the death of Lieutenant-Colonel Renier Lagois, who died in a hail of bullets in the garage of his home in Rietondale on January 18, 2016.
Lagois was head of support at the Leote police station in Pretoria.
Rampersad also denied that he had conspired with anyone to murder Lagois or that he had stolen Lagois’ service pistol and car.
The state alleges Rampersad conspired with Lagois’ life partner to kill him.
He allegedly went to Lagois’ home that day where his lover handed him Lagois’ service pistol, which Lagois had left at home.
The state alleges Rampersad waited for Lagois in the garage, shooting him as he climbed out of his vehicle. Lagois was hit several times and died at the scene from gunshot wounds to the brain.
Rampersad said in his plea explanation he had developed a friendship with Lagois’ partner, Caroline Naidoo, who was his commander at Pretoria West when he was still a student.
Their friendship grew over time and extended to Lagois and other family members and he interacted with the family almost on a daily basis.
According to Rampersad, he had gone to a shooting range that morning, but had problems with his motorbike and had asked Naidoo that afternoon if she could lend him money to put fuel into a loaned bike.
He said Naidoo came to his home and asked him to follow her to her home, where she went inside while he waited in the driveway. She came out with R500 and he left.
Rampersad said he was with friends when Naidoo’s daughter called him. She was frantic and asked him to immediately come to the house as there was an emergency.
According to Rampersad, he did not interact with or see Lagois at all that day and only realised that Lagois had been shot dead after he arrived at the house.
He denied conspiring with anyone to murder Lagois or taking Lagois’ pistol or car.
The trial continues.