Security guard gets 26 years for murder

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Security guard gets 26 years for murder

Oshakati High Court Judge Eduard Kesslau last week sentenced a security guard convicted of murdering his girlfriend, over suspected text messages, to an effective 26 years imprisonment.

Mawaya Bernard Lionga (35) was convicted of murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. 

According to the charge sheet, Lionga shot Melody Mabita on 17 March 2020 at Katima Mulilo as a result of text messages he found on her cellphone. He pleaded not guilty and said he placed his service shotgun on the table in the house and a shot went of which struck the deceased in her thigh. He disputed admitting to witnesses that he shot the deceased or informing them about the text messages on the deceased’s phone. 

Lionga was employed at a security company and had no authorisation to take the firearm home.

A witness told the court that after he heard loud noise from the house where the accused and deceased were living, he found the lifeless body of the deceased with a gaping wound on her upper left thigh and a crying three-week old infant on the floor. 

The judge sentenced Lionga to 24 years on the murder count, two years for possession of a firearm without a licence and one year for possession of ammunition unlawfully. He however ordered the arms and ammunition sentence to run concurrently.

He said he ordered the concurrent sentences to avoid an excessively long sentence as the convict is still young and can be rehabilitated. 

In mitigation of sentence, Lionga told the judge he cannot remember what happened and asked the court to be merciful as he had no intention to kill the deceased. In addition, when asked if he had anything to say to the family of the deceased, he replied that her death was caused by her father who, by means of witchcraft used him to sacrifice his daughter. 

This, Judge Kesslau said, shows that the accused did not show any remorse and went to the extreme of accusing the father of the deceased of sacrificing his daughter by means of witchcraft. 

This, the judge said, is outrageous. 

“The absence of regret and remorse from the accused is an indication that he is a danger to society, the judge said and continued: As a result, the only appropriate sentence will be a considerable period of imprisonment to ensure the protection of society and to attempt to rehabilitate the accused.” 

The judge further said that the crime of murder is extremely serious and even more so because it was committed in a domestic context. It is also clear that the offences were premeditated in that the accused arrived at their house with the loaded firearm, the judge remarked. Further, he said, the accused had time to rethink his actions, however failed to do so.  “The deceased was shot at close range in the upper leg and bled to death in the presence of their baby,” the judge said. he continued: The actions by the accused not only caused the loss of an innocent person, but further will result that two young children will grow up without the love and care of their mother.