A farmworker from Gobabis, who admitted at the start of his trial to killing his girlfriend by stabbing her at least 13 times with a knife and crushing her skull with an axe during October 2016, will be sentenced on 30 September.
Windhoek High Court acting Judge Eileen Rakow announced this yesterday after hearing oral arguments on the sentence to be imposed on Benedictus Koper (30) who was recently convicted for the killing of Kalista Erastus at Farm Vuurslag in the Gobabis district.
Koper was convicted on charges of murder read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act and defeating or obstructing the course of justice. This is after he admitted that he set alight the clothes of the victim in order to frustrate the investigations into her killing. Rakow also convicted Koper on separate counts of rape and attempted murder to which he had pleaded not guilty.
It was charged by the State that he raped and attempted to murder another woman in the vicinity of Karasburg on 27 November 2014 by strangling her.
His State-funded lawyer Titus Iipumbu yesterday told the court that Koper showed genuine remorse for his actions and that he tried several times to apologise to the family of the victim. According to Iipumbu, a sentence that is “malignantly harsh” will overemphasise the retributive element of punishment at the expense of deterrence.
He further said that a sentence in the region of 27 years on the murder charge will satisfy the interest of society.
Iipumbu told the judge that a sentence of 12 months on defeating the course of justice conviction ordered to run concurrently with the sentence on the murder conviction would be justified in the circumstances.
He further proposed a 15-year sentence on the rape conviction and a five-year sentence on attempted murder conviction also ordered to run concurrently. State prosecutor Hezekiel Iipinge told the court that he does not wish to dictate to the court how to use its discretion when it comes to sentencing.
However, Iipinge said, this is a matter where the court must remove the accused for a long time from society. According to Iipinge, there is no remorse on the part of Koper, which he said was adamantly proven when he laughed during the testimony of the sister of the victim. His so-called remorse is just a desperate attempt to lure the court into ameliorating his sentence.
“The attacks on his victims was barbaric,” Iipinge stressed and said that he stabbed the victim 13 times and if that was not enough, he then came back and crushed her skull with an axe. The assault on his rape victim was just as barbaric, Iipinge said, as there is evidence that he tried to strangle her and would have succeeded, but for luck.
According to Iipinge, the court was told that Koper was like a child in the house of his rape victim and he repaid that kindness with violence. “Is that the conduct of the person we need in our society?” he asked.