WINDHOEK - A man from King Kauluma village in the Tsumeb District who was on trial for almost severing the head of his girlfriend and the mother of his two minor children was convicted of murder with direct intent by High Court Judge Herman January in the Oshakati High Court at the close of trial.
Ndamwena Evaristu Josef was charged with the murder of Hilma Ndeyapo Nehale at King Kauluma village on April 04, 2016.
According to the judge, Josef had the direct intention to kill Nehale when he directed a chop to her neck which severed her trachea (windpipe), oesophagus (food pipe), all major blood vessels and the muscles on the neck. Josef pleaded not guilty to the charge and said the deceased was cut accidentally when they were struggling for possession of the panga.
According to him, they were on their way home from the cuca shops when the deceased attacked him with the panga in a fit of jealousy. At that stage he had their one-year-old child in his hands and he managed to grab hold of her wrist while he put the child down and they were struggling for the panga swinging it “hence and forth,” left and right.
At some point, Josef said, he saw blood spattering on him when the panga swung right and the deceased fell down. He further told the court, according to the judgment, that after the deceased fell down, she got up, walked a few paces and succumbed to the ground.
Judge January said he needed to consider whether at the critical moment of executing the cut with the panga, the accused’s version could be reasonably possibly be true that he acted in self-defence.
But, Judge January observed: “I find that the accused tailored his evidence as the case progressed and he was not consistent in his evidence.” He said that state witnesses were not cross-examined on key evidence and the accused was inconsistent in his evidence. He further said that the accused testified that the deceased was injured whilst he and the deceased were struggling for possession of the panga.
“In the process the panga was swinging hence and forth, left and right. The accused was not consistent about who was in control of the panga at the critical moment when the chop wound was inflicted.”
“He stated that soon after the chop he had the panga in his hand and he threw it on the ground,” the judge stated. “In his evidence his hand was over the hand of the deceased with her hand holding the panga on the handle. It is a mystery when his hand(s) creeped under the hand of the deceased to suddenly have held the panga on its handle. I infer that the accused was in control of the panga before the infliction of the critical wound.”
The judge further stated that the doctor testified that when an object is swung to a person it will cause a cut wound and if the struggle for the possession of the panga occurred as the accused testified to, one would have expected a cut wound.
“The wound is a chop wound aimed at a very vulnerable part of the body,” the judge said and added: “In the circumstances I find the testimony of the accused of how the deceased sustained the wound improbable.”
He went on to say that the only inference is that he inflicted the chop wound well aimed at a vulnerable part of the body of the deceased and that it was deliberately aimed and intentional.