THE way in which an elderly Swakopmund resident was attacked at his home and murdered nearly three years ago was barbaric, a judge said when he sentenced the man convicted of the killing to an effective prison term of 32 years on Tuesday.
Sentencing Unaaro Mbemukenga (28) in the Windhoek High Court, acting judge Orben Sibeya said the murder that Mbemukenga committed was indicative of his ungratefulness towards his employer, and also of his abuse of the trust placed in him.
Having remarked that "the barbaric manner" in which Mbemukenga murdered his employer, Manfred Hartmann (78), at Swakopmund on 17 August 2017 was aggravating, the judge also noted that Mbemukenga spent time and energy planning to rob and kill Hartmann.
He had to be severely punished to discourage him and would-be offenders from ever considering such evil deed in future, acting judge Sibeya said.
He sentenced Mbemukenga to 32 years' imprisonment on a charge of murder and to a 10-year jail term for robbery with aggravating circumstances. With the two crimes closely linked, the judge ordered that the sentence on the robbery charge should be served concurrently with the 32-year prison term on the murder charge.
Hartmann, who was a German citizen living at Swakopmund, was killed when he was attacked by being struck in the head with a brick and then tied up in an outside bathroom at his house. With the tying-up, an electrical cable was also fastened around his neck. A doctor who carried out an autopsy on Hartmann's body concluded in a post-mortem report that he died as a result of strangulation.
Mbemukenga had been employed by Hartmann for about two months before he committed the deadly robbery.
After attacking Hartmann and tying him up, Mbemukenga ransacked his house, stealing items that included a laptop computer, two cellphones, clothes and N$1 500. With his arrest at Outjo a day later, some of the items stolen from Hartmann's house were found in Mbemukenga's possession.
Mbemukenga denied guilt during his trial, but the court heard that he admitted during an appearance in the Swakopmund Magistrate's Court near the end of September 2017 that he had robbed and killed Hartmann.
One of the prosecution's witnesses also testified during the trial that Mbemukenga told her, after he had arrived unexpectedly at her house at Outjo on the evening of 17 August 2017, that he had attacked Hartmann, tied him up in a toilet and stolen goods from him. Another witness told the court Mbemukenga had asked him a few days before the attack on Hartmann to help him tie up a white person whom he planned to rob. The witness said he turned down Mbemukenga's request for assistance.
Acting judge Sibeya noted that Mbemukenga told the court he was disgruntled about being found guilty, saying that he did not rob or kill Hartmann. In spite of overwhelming evidence against him, Mbemukenga was stubbornly refusing to acknowledge his responsibility for the crimes of which he was convicted, and as a result did not show remorse, the judge said.
Mbemukenga has been in custody for two years and 10 months following his arrest.
State advocate Cliff Lutibezi represented the prosecution during the trial. Mbemukenga was represented by defence lawyer Vernon Lutibezi during the last part of his trial.