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Baby killer guilty

2023-09-29  Roland Routh

Baby killer guilty

A man from Rundu was convicted of murder with direct intent for slashing his one month old baby’s stomach open with a traditional knife.

Oshakati High Court Judge Eduard Kesslau convicted Markus Shikerete (24) of murder, read the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, after rejecting his plea of medical negligence. Shikerete pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and told the court he “only scratched” the baby girl. 

However, Kesslau found that based on the medical evidence, the baby’s stomach was slashed open to the point that the intestines were protruding. Shikerete claimed that it was negligence on the part of the nursing staff at Nyangana Hospital that caused the baby’s death. 

The incident took place on 19 October 2019 at Shipando village near Rundu. 

According to the mother of the baby girl, the accused, who was her boyfriend, asked to spend some time with the baby. She further said after the accused returned the baby after about an hour, she witnessed blood on the baby and after undressing the baby observed an open wound at the naval area below the abdomen with the intestines protruding. The medical staff denied that they are liable for the baby’s death. 

Shikerete admitted in testimony that he stabbed his baby, but said he used a small knife and stabbed her only once which caused a small scratch. He denied intention to kill the baby and said he only wanted to hurt her, but could not provide a reason for it. According to Judge Kesslau, the version of the accused that he only caused a scratch is rejected as false beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, he said, there is no evidence that the medical staff were negligent and caused the death of the child. 

The undisputed evidence, the judge said, was that the baby was found with an injury severe enough for the intestines to protrude shortly after the accused handed her back to her mother. 

He further said the only logical inference to draw from the proven facts is that the accused intended to kill the baby when he repeatedly stabbed her. Further evidence presented was that the accused was told he will not be able support his child, the judge stated. 

“With this in mind, he went to his girlfriend’s home, collect a knife and isolated the baby by taking her outside. He then used the weapon to repeatedly stab the baby while applying sufficient force to penetrate through the clothing covering the baby, the skin and stomach muscles into the cavity holding the intestines,” Kesslau stated. 

Further, he said, considering the vulnerable age of the victim, the weapon used, the state of mind and behaviour of the accused, he is satisfied that the State proved the offence of murder with direct intent to kill beyond any reasonable doubt.

Shikerete was represented by Legal Aid lawyer S Makale and the State by S Petrus from the Office of the Prosecutor General in Oshakati.       

2023-09-29  Roland Routh

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