A SON'S fatal axe attack on his 73-year-old mother in the Ondangwa area a year ago was cowardly and savage, a judge commented in the High Court at Oshakati when she sent the killer to prison for 30 years and six months last week.
It is not an unknown or new fact that alcohol abuse is at the heart of almost all the brutal crimes and abuse committed within a domestic relationship, and it might be time to review the policy around the unrestricted sale of alcohol in the area of the Northern Division of the High Court, Judge Marlene Tommasi said during the sentencing of Johannes Panduleni Eino.
In Eino's case, too, alcohol was a trigger which led to the murder of his mother, Kaino Petrus (73), at Onethika B, a village in the Ondangwa area, on August 4 last year.
The reason for the deadly attack was an unsympathetic reaction which Eino had received from his mother when he told her about a scuffle in which he had been involved at a cuca shop where he had tried to help himself to some tombo brew.
Having retired to his room after he had told his mother about the scuffle, Eino got angry, and then went to fetch an axe with which he returned to the place where his mother was resting. He struck her on the head with the blunt side of an axe, and left her lying there, Judge Tommasi summarised some of the evidence before the court.
Petrus was hit with such force that her skull was fractured.
A year after the event, Eino (36) pleaded guilty to charges of murder and assault.
"The violence perpetrated against people within a domestic relationship has taken on alarming proportions," Judge Tommasi said with his sentencing.
"Society is at a loss to understand why family values have broken down to the extent that the lives of vulnerable women and children are considered meaningless. The courts are left to deal with the aftermath of broken down relationships. This court on a regular basis views pictures depicting the most horrendous murders committed by persons who are supposed to love and care for one another," she reminded Eino.
Eino also admitted that he had assaulted a niece of his at the cuca shop where he had been involved in the scuffle over the tombo.
A sister of Eino, Johanna Kambonde, told the court that he had been causing trouble in their household and in the surrounding area. Eino's mother was unable to control him and frequently had to pay compensation to people in their community for damages caused by him, she said.
Eino was unemployed at the time of the incident, but had previously worked at Walvis Bay as a labourer, the court heard.
Kambonde also told the court that their family was unable to forgive Eino, and that they feared for their lives. She asked the court to send her brother to prison for life.
Eino had decided to take out his anger and frustration on his aged mother, who was defenceless against his fury, Judge Tommasi said.
"She was in the safety of her own home and had no reason to believe that her son posed a dangerous threat to her life. She was completely at the mercy of her son who showed none and who brutally bashed her head with an axe. The attack was cowardly and savage," the judge stated.
The evidence presented to the court showed that Eino is by nature an aggressive and self-centred person, she said. However, she also took into account that he has already spent a year in custody, and that he has shown some remorse for his actions.
She sentenced Eino to 30 years' imprisonment on the murder charge, and to a jail term of six months for the assault.
State advocate Neville Wamambo prosecuted. Eino was represented by Legal Aid Directorate lawyer Godfrey Bondai.