Windhoek High Court Judge Claudia Claasen has sentenced an Omaheke farmworker to an effective 32-year jail term for what she described a horrific murder.
She convicted Hendrik Bock (53) after he pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend on 4 September 2018 at Post Houtputz in the Otjombinde area near Tallismanus in the Gobabis district.
She also convicted him on a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm for hitting the victim with an axe on the head two years prior.
He was charged with the offences after he first stabbed Angela Anab three times in her back with a knife after a drinking spree and then went back and slit her throat.
According to Claasen, the sequence of events reveals the accused was relentless in his drunken rage. “He was not satisfied with three stab wounds in the deceased’s back. The time gap when he followed Mr Anab to the neighbour’s house could have been a moment to gather his senses. Instead, it became a launching pad for the horror that followed. At that moment, the accused declared that he will now go and finish her off. True to his word, he then went to execute his horrid promise,” the judge remarked.
She further said the cutting of the throat resembles the slaughter of a farm animal and that the level of brutality that accompanied the act was incomprehensible.
“What further exacerbates the offence is that it occurred in a domestic setting, as the deceased was the girlfriend to the accused,” the judge stated.
She went on to say the senseless killing of women by their partners has become all too regular in our country despite the plethora of instances where our courts echoed the seriousness of murder perpetrated in a domestic domain.
“I fully endorse the sentiments expressed in this regard, as Namibian women are still not safe and are still not spared – not in the bigger towns and not in the rural communities,” the judge said and continued: “It is a sad reflection on us that gender-based violence infiltrated even the small farming community of Houtsputs in the Gobabis area.
According to the judge, the fact that the accused is a first offender and pleaded guilty was taken into account when she considered the prison term. However, she said, while it was submitted that Bock is remorseful about what happened and would have apologised in person to the family of the victim if he were given the chance, his failure to tender evidence in mitigation somewhat diluted his expression of remorse.
The evidence was led by the State establishing there was an interval between the stabbing and the cutting of the throat during which the accused had time to reflect, the judge said.
She went on to say that murder is undoubtedly one of the most serious crimes in our midst because of the irrefutable loss of life and the consequences for those left behind. Not only is it parents who lost a daughter, but a minor child who lost both her caregivers and are now the burden of an already elderly couple.
She said that while the child has her grandparents, for now, it is not known who will take care of her when they are no longer alive.
According to the judge, the aggravating factors are startling and lead to only one conclusion – a lengthy custodial sentence.
In the end, the judge sentenced Bock to 32 years on the murder conviction and one year on the imprisonment on the assault, ordered to run concurrently.
Bock was represented by Mese Tjituri on instructions of Legal Aid and the State by Advocate Marthino Olivier.