The four-year-old daughter of a woman who was killed when her boyfriend poured petrol on her and set her alight asked for her picture, kissed it and held it tight to her chest.
This was said on Tuesday by the sister of the deceased when she testified in aggravation of sentence against Manfred Links (31), who was convicted of the murder of Michelle Roelph.
Roelph’s sister Margaret Kaffer told Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg that the child is always asking about her mother and father, and then she would show the child a picture of the deceased. The child lives in constant fear, she added.
The girl was 13 months old at the time, and also sustained burn wounds on her arms and feet during the incident on New Year’s Day in 2020. Links was subsequently convicted of attempted murder for this.
The woman further said she cannot find it in her heart to forgive Links, as he hurt her family.
“Why did he not think when he bought the petrol; the time he poured the petrol over her, why did he not think? the woman asked rhetorically when Milton Engelbrecht, on behalf of Links, asked her if she could accept the convict’s apology.
Links asked for forgiveness from the family of the deceased, the court and the entire Namibian nation for his actions during his evidence in mitigation.
“I feel very bad; words cannot describe how bad I feel. I feel bad about my actions which landed me here today. That is not the person I am; that is not how I was raised,” he told the court.
He continued: “I feel bad about the hurt and pain I caused. I feel bad that a sister had to come and stand in court and cannot find it in her heart to forgive me. I feel bad about taking a mother from her children. I feel bad about my daughter who has to grow up without a mother; I feel bad for my community, I feel bad about my parents who did not teach me to act that way. I can only hope and pray that everybody who has been touched by this could find forgiveness in their hearts for me, and find peace for themselves,” a teary-eyed Links said.
Ian Malumani, on behalf of the State, asked the court to remove him from society for a very long time. He suggested 34 years for the murder conviction, and two years for the attempted murder conviction. Engelbrecht asked the court to take into consideration the actions of the convict after the incident when sentencing him. He said it is clear from the evidence that Links went to look for help, and also accompanied the deceased in the ambulance to Karasburg.
He proposed a sentence of 28 years, with three years suspended on the murder conviction, and four years, with two years suspended, for the attempted murder conviction. He further asked the court to order that the sentences run concurrently. Judge Liebenberg reserved his judgement to 1 June. -firstname.lastname@example.org