20 June 2019

Namibia: Life Imprisonment for Walvis Bay Beach Killer

A man convicted of murdering his girlfriend by shooting her on a beach at Walvis Bay in November 2014 now has a term of life imprisonment lying ahead.

Judge Alfred Siboleka sentenced Jomo Petrus (34) to life imprisonment on a charge of murder, and a concurrent jail term of two years on a charge of theft of a firearm when his trial came to an end in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Both charges date from 10 November 2014, when Petrus stole a pistol from a relative with whom he was staying at Walvis Bay, before he killed his girlfriend, Loise Alupe (24), at a beach at the harbour town by shooting her twice in the head with the stolen gun.

Petrus also made an attempt to kill himself by cutting his wrists.

During his trial, he claimed Alupe was shot accidentally when they were wrestling over the possession of the pistol. Judge Siboleka rejected his version as false, though.

Judge Siboleka said during the sentencing that he was taking into account that Petrus was a first-time offender, and that he had shown remorse by expressing sorrow over the pain he had caused to Alupe's family. However, he was also taking into account that Petrus committed the murder in a domestic setting, since he and Alupe had been in a romantic relationship, the judge said.

Petrus denied guilt on a charge of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, and a count of theft of a firearm when his trial began in March last year.

During the trial, he claimed he was suicidal on 10 November 2014. He said he planned to end his own life, but when he wanted to shoot himself in his own room, the gun did not fire.

Petrus also told the court that he then went to Alupe's house, because he wanted to talk to her about the mood he was in. From her house, they went to a beach, and it was there that he first tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists with pieces of broken glass, and then took the gun from a bag in which he had carried it to the beach, he said. According to Petrus, Alupe tried to stop him and grabbed the gun, and during a struggle over the weapon, a shot went off and she was struck.

However, according to a medical doctor who carried out an autopsy on Alupe, she had been shot twice in the head. The one entrance wound was in the middle of her forehead, while another entrance wound was on the left side of her head.

Judge Siboleka commented when he found Petrus guilty at the end of May that in his view, the gunshot injuries could not be the result of an accidental discharge of the pistol that Petrus had taken with him and Alupe to the beach.

A psychiatrist who examined Petrus to determine if he was mentally fit to stand trial, Dr Reinhardt Sieberhagen, concluded that the information made available to him indicated that Petrus acted "as a narcissistic personality" in his relationship with Alupe, "being possessive and pathologically jealous, and responding with aggression and violence to his perception of being done wrong".

Dr Sieberhagen also commented: "The typical misogynist is an emotionally traumatised male with poor or absent role models. He functions quite normally in all spheres, except in close relationships, where he is self-centred and destructive; he has little, if any, concept of emotional pain, except his own."

Legal aid defence lawyer Mpokiseng Dube represented Petrus during his trial. State advocate Salomon Kanyemba prosecuted.

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