WINDHOEK - The man accused of beating a woman to death in Windhoek’s Otjomuise location in 2015 was convicted of murder with direct intent and assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm yesterday by High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka in the Windhoek High Court.
Elwen Gawaxab was charged with beating to death Cathy Marlene Gatonye and attempting to kill Thalitha Patricia Khai-Gu Mungunda during August 18 to 21, 2015 in Khomasdal after he asked them for a lift to an ATM and an argument erupted between them.
Gawaxab has been denying throughout his trial that he was the male occupant in the vehicle that was responsible for the assaults on the two ladies which culminated in the death of one of them.
According to Judge Siboleka, the crucial question the court should answer is whether the accused has been credibly identified beyond reasonable doubt as the male person who was in the company of the deceased and her friends on that fateful evening.
According to Judge Siboleka, the evidence showed that it was the accused who approached the driver of the car and asked to be taken to an ATM, which was granted, and they drove to Gammans Service Station, a well-lighted place with good visibility.
He further said it was confirmed through investigations by the police that it was indeed the accused who withdrew N$2 000 from his bank account and which showed he had N$78 000 in his account.
He further said the accused during his evidence in chief and cross-examination confirmed that he was in the places described by the State witnesses while he stated he was in the company of other ladies.
“It is humanly impossible for a person to be on two different vehicles driven and occupied by different people at the same time,” observed Judge Siboleka.
The judge said in addition to the crystal clear and credible evidence identifying the accused as the male occupant of the car, there is evidence that after the accused hit Mungunda with a beer bottle, the driver stopped the car and they all got out except Mungunda who remained seated.
“The accused removed his shirt, pulled out Mungunda, his first victim and started beating her while the other ladies pleaded with him to stop without success,” the judge said and continued: The deceased was standing across the road trying to stop passing vehicles to ask for help.
The other two ladies drove off and reported the matter to the police, the judge said and added that one of the State witnesses saw a parked sedan with ladies talking loudly, pleading with a man without a shirt on to stop beating a lady without success. He went on to say that the accused right on through his attack on Mungunda did not have a shirt on. When Mungunda, the first victim escaped the attack by running away, she left the shirtless accused and the deceased at the scene of crime, the judge said.
According to Judge Siboleka the evidence, holds credibly beyond reasonable doubt that the man without a shirt on beating a lady during the early hours of the day in question was the accused before court.
He further said that in his view there is no way the ladies, the prosecution witnesses who the accused testified he did not know, could have possibly know that he had approximately N$78 000 in his private bank account, that he withdrew N$2000 if he was not with them and had not personally shared the information with them. In view of the evidence, the judge said, he hold that the accused was in fact the only male person who was together with the deceased and her friends uninterruptedly up to the time when Mungunda was beaten up and the deceased picked up badly injured.
He said it was Gawaxab who first assaulted Mungunda and then launched a vicious attack of the deceased causing her to die of her injuries. He dismissed the accused’s version as a fabrication.