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Drugs ruined 'model' man
21 Feb 2012
Ingrid Oellermann

THE wife of convicted armed robber Keelan Simons (32) pleaded with the regional court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday to help her former “model husband” who is battling drug addiction.

Tanya Simons gave evidence in mitigation of sentence yesterday and told the court she felt sadness, regret and anger, and was deeply disappointed about her husband’s crimes.

She apologised to his victims, saying no one should be intimidated as they had been.

“Having said that, I believe the man that I married … the good man is still there under all the rubble and mess that sits here today.

“Please help him … I have faith in the justice system as well as in the Heavenly Father,” she said.

She told the court their three-year-old daughter dotes on her father, “her hero”.

Simons’s lawyer, Nasen Naicker, said Tanya Simons had met his client while he was in prison for the murder of 19-year-old Douglas Comrie, who was stabbed to death on December 4, 1995, while delivering pizzas in Woodlands.

He was paroled in 2005.

Tanya Simons told regional magistrate Paul Ableman she’d married Simons in 2005 and for a time they were happy.

In May 2010, when his mother died, she’d noticed “something was wrong” and realised he was high on drugs.

Thereafter his drug addiction deepened, leading to arguments and eventually a separation.

She said Simons was “high” most weekends and she allowed him to see his daughter only when the drugs had worn off during the week.

She had hoped that “tough love” might help him to confront and overcome his addiction to cocaine and ecstasy, she said.

While they were separated Simons was admitted to hospital three times and was involved in a near fatal accident.

He also lost his job. The situation did not improve.

Tanya Simons said she was not employed and Simons sometimes gave her money “when he had it”.

The court heard that Simons had support from his family and the church. He also attended weekly sessions in an effort to overcome his drug habit.

Pastor Anthony Naidoo told the court his fellowship had tried to help Simons integrate socially following his release from prison.

His wife was very active in the church, and they’d tried to help the couple deal with Simons’s drug addiction.

“It is devastating to think that today this is where we are in this young man’s life.”

The case was postponed until Friday to allow the prosecutor, Pranisha Kasool, to prepare argument.

• ingrido@witness.co.za




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