A long-distance bus driver convicted of murdering his student girlfriend in Windhoek four years ago has been sentenced to an effective prison term of 30 years at the end of his trial.
The fatal head injuries recorded by a medical doctor during an autopsy on murder victim Iyaloo Hainghumbi showed she had been subjected to a very serious attack, judge Eileen Rakow said during the sentencing of Hainghumbi's former boyfriend, Victor Elia, in the Windhoek High Court on Wednesday.
Hainghumbi (25), who was a student at the International University of Management, died due to blunt force injuries to her head.
The judge said Elia (40), who throughout his trial denied he had killed Hainghumbi, was a first-time offender and had been held in custody over the past four years.
The interests of society are served when offenders are given appropriate sentences which take into account the seriousness of the crime and the fact that the offender should eventually become a productive member of society, and would be reintegrated into society once he has served his sentence, Rakow said.
She sentenced Elia to 30 years' imprisonment on a charge of murder, and to three-year jail terms on the counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
The two three-year prison terms were ordered to be served concurrently with the sentence on the murder charge.
Elia was found guilty at the end of March, when Rakow concluded that the circumstantial evidence on which the prosecution relied in his trial led to only one inference, which was that he was responsible for killing Hainghumbi on 16 or 17 January 2017.
Hainghumbi's body was found lying next to the Western Bypass in Windhoek on the morning of 17 January 2017.
She had last been seen alive the previous day.
The prosecution's evidence included cellphone records which indicated the phones of Elia and Hainghumbi had been in the same areas of Windhoek during the afternoon and evening of 16 January 2017, DNA test results which showed that DNA matching that of Hainghumbi was found in bloodstains in the bus which Elia was driving, and testimony that after his arrest Elia had asked his brother to buy paraffin and to burn some items.
The court also heard during the trial that Hainghumbi had spent the weekend preceding her death at Swakopmund with a new boyfriend, and that she had informed Elia she was involved in a new romantic relationship and did not want to have contact with him any more.
In addition to being convicted of murdering Hainghumbi, Elia was found guilty of robbing her by taking her handbag, cellphone, jacket and a pair of shoes, and of trying to destroy evidence of the killing and hindering a police investigation by removing blood from the bus he was driving, of dumping Hainghumbi's body, and of burning or getting rid of the items he had taken from her.
State advocate Salomon Kanyemba represented the prosecution during Elia's trial.
Elia was represented by defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji.