WINDHOEK – Oshakati High Court Judge Herman January last week sentenced a man he convicted of murdering the mother of his two minor children by beheading her with a panga to 30 years direct imprisonment on a count of murder with direct intent read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act.
Although Judge January found that Ndamwena Evaristu Josef was a first offender at the age of 36 years, he said that the manner in which the offence was committed called for a harsh sentence.
He was convicted of killing Hilma Ndeyapo Nehale at King Kauluma village on April 04, 2016.
Josef testified that on their way home from the cuca shops 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.
The judge found that 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 in the neck.
“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.”
Josef pleaded not guilty to the charge and said the deceased was cut accidentally when they were struggling for possession of the panga.
The judge further stated that the commission of the crime in whatever circumstances is by no means justifiable.
“The medical evidence indicate that the accused almost beheaded the deceased”, he observed.
According to Judge January, the crime is an extreme murder, shocking and revolting.
“The deceased was helpless and unarmed when she was executed,” he said and continued: “What is aggravating is that the crime was committed in a domestic setting and all the more so as it was committed in circumstances where one of the minor children witnessed it.”
According to the judge, the convict showed remorse.
He further stated that this is a case where prevention, deterrence and retribution as objectives of punishment outweigh rehabilitation of the convict.
Judge January said that the aggravating circumstances overshadow the mitigating factors and that in his opinion Josef is a danger to society.
“The accused can only be sanctioned by a long period of custodial sentence,” he stressed.