13 February 2018

Namibia: Knife Killer Gets 23 Years in Jail

A man who killed his girlfriend at Gobabis in September 2013 by stabbing her once with a knife was sentenced to 23 years' imprisonment in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Having killed his girlfriend, Nina Katjatenja (30), on 3 September 2013, Erwin Tebele (32) was convicted on a charge of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, in October last year.

During his sentencing in the High Court sitting at the Windhoek Correctional Facility yesterday, judge Dinnah Usiku told Tebele she did not see a hint of remorse from his side during his trial - although he told the court after he had been found guilty that he felt bad about Katjatenja's death, and wanted to ask her family for forgiveness.

The fact that Tebele and Katjatenja had been involved in a domestic relationship before he murdered her was aggravating, judge Usiku said. Tebele was expected to love and care for Katjatenja, and not to end her life, she said.

Judge Usiku noted that the court heard Tebele had made threats in the presence of Katjatenja's father that he was going to kill her one day, and had assaulted her on an earlier occasion as well. Katjatenja laid charges against him after that assault, but later withdrew her complaint with the police.

Tebele was undoubtedly someone who had no respect for human life, judge Usiku commented.

She also reminded Tebele that he stabbed Katjatenja in full view of two of her children.

The event that the children witnessed left them with scars that would be difficult to erase, she remarked.

The two children - a girl aged 11 at the time of the incident, and a boy who was eight years old at the time - both testified as state witnesses during Tebele's trial. Both children contradicted Tebele's claim that he stabbed Katjatenja while defending himself from an assault by her.

During his trial, Tebele admitted that he stabbed Katjatenja once in the chest during a quarrel at the house they shared in the Epako area of Gobabis.

Judge Usiku rejected his claim of having acted in self-defence, remarking that his defence was clearly an afterthought.

Even if he had been attacked first by Katjatenja, that attack was over and he was no longer in danger after he had disarmed her, the judge also reasoned. She was taking into account that Tebele was a first-time offender, and that he spent a considerable period of time - since September 2013 - in custody, the judge said before announcing to Tebele that he was being sentenced to 23 years' imprisonment.

Tebele and Katjatenja had been involved in a relationship for about three years before she was killed.

They had one child together. Their son was six months old when his father killed his mother.

Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji represented Tebele during the trial. State advocate Felistas Shikerete-Vendura prosecuted.

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