17 May 2017

Namibia: Axe Murder Followed Quarrel Over Drinking

Photo: Daily Monitor
(File photo).

A HEATED argument after almost two days of drinking was the prelude to an axe murder that ended the life of a 28-year-old woman two years ago.

This was part of the plea explanation yesterday given in the Windhoek High Court by the man who admitted that he murdered his girlfriend, Christine Ganses, at Otjiwarongo on 28 February 2015.

"I do plead guilty," Israel Kapepu (44), who was in a relationship with Ganses and the father of the youngest of her three children, told judge Naomi Shivute when she requested his plea on the count of murder he has faced since his arrest over Ganses' death.

Kapepu did not testify in mitigation of sentence after pleading guilty.

However, in a plea explanation that defence lawyer Mese Tjituri read out in court, Kapepu stated that he took full responsibility for Ganses' death - but also indicated that he did not directly intend to kill her when he struck her three times on the head with an axe.

Kapepu said he had been drinking with friends and Ganses before he and Ganses returned home around midday on the day of the incident.

They had been planning to take an afternoon nap, but while taking a bath, Ganses told him she was going to go out drinking again, Kapepu said.

A heated quarrel ensued, because he felt they should spend time together at home after they had been drinking for almost two days by then, he stated. He said Ganses insulted him while they argued and, feeling hurt and angry, he decided to discipline her with a sjambok.

When he could not find the sjambok in the house, though, he took an axe instead, and ran towards Ganses.

Kapepu said while Ganses appeared to be picking up something in the bedroom, he struck her with the axe. He hit her with the blunt side of the axe, inflicting three blows to her head, Kapepu stated.

The blows were fatal, and Ganses died where she fell.

Ganses' sister, Elizabeth Ganses, told the court after judge Shivute convicted Kapepu on the basis of his plea that Ganses and Kapepu had appeared to have a good relationship before he murdered her.

Addressing the judge on the sentence that will have to come Kapepu's way, Tjituri said Kapepu cooperated with the police from the start, and has also on several occasions apologised to Ganses' mother for having killed her daughter.

Tjituri acknowledged that a lengthy prison term would be inevitable in Kapepu's case. He suggested that a sentence of 28 years' imprisonment would be appropriate.

Describing the attack on Ganses as extremely brutal, state advocate Marthino Olivier remarked that it was a crime that not only ended Ganses' life, but also affected the lives of her children, who were now being raised by relatives.

Olivier reminded the judge that a similar case involving an axe murder committed in a domestic setting was dealt with in the High Court two months ago. In that case, a former policeman who killed his wife with an axe at Gobabis in September 2015 also pleaded guilty to a murder charge, and was sentenced to 32 years' imprisonment, Olivier recounted.

Judge Shivute postponed Kapepu's sentencing to 1 June.

Kapepu has been in custody since his arrest on the day of the incident.

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