A 26-year-old woman was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for having murdered her one-day-old baby boy by stabbing him 42 times in the chest and face with a scissors.
The act was allegedly committed because the accused was afraid of her aggressive father finding out she was pregnant. She had neither informed the father of the baby of her pregnancy because they were separated and not on talking terms, as he was seeing someone else.
Court documents show the accused at times wanted to keep the baby. However, she didn’t know what came upon her to do what she did, hence blamed the acts on “evil spirits”.
Peneyambeko Nghimbwasha was convicted in the Tsumeb Regional Court last Thursday after she had pleaded guilty to murdering her biological baby on June, 25, 2012. She was charged under provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act (Act 4 of 2003).
Handing down the sentence was magistrate Leopold Natangwe Hangalo, who said the offence is extremely serious and aggravated by the fact that the accused brutally murdered her own son.
The magistrate further said that in Namibia life is protected from the time of fusion until the seed grows into an adult.
“That’s why abortion is illegal in this country, nor does society condone baby dumping and killing. This offence you committed is a prevalent one whereby newly born babies have become targets of cruel and ruthless attacks by mothers like you. Although you pleaded for mercy, you were not merciful to the deceased, your own flesh and blood, and mercilessly stabbed him 42 times with a lethal weapon in the chest and neck,” said Hangalo.
Representing the State was prosecutor Nelao Ya France, who had pushed for 13 years of imprisonment, arguing the accused, who was 22 at the time, was old enough and mature enough to be able to comprehend that it was contemptible to have committed such a gruesome act.
However magistrate Hangalo suspended four years of the sentence for a period of five years, on condition the accused is not convicted of murder under the provisions of Combating of Domestic Violence Act (Act 4 of 2003) during the period of suspension.
“The motive for this matter is also for consideration as she had put her own selfish interests and needs before the child and that’s why she killed the baby. The manner in which she committed this offence is entirely gruesome and disturbing. The child had 42 stab wounds which are a clear indication the crime was premeditated,” further argued Ya France.
“One would assume that after stabbing the baby once, twice or at least three times, one would have some sort of remorse and stop, but yet the accused continued stabbing. That is gruesome,” said Ya France.
Magistrate Hangolo reminded the accused that during her submission she had testified that she could remember that she did something wrong but did not know under which conditions she was when she committed the offence, adding that Nghimbwasha had remembered the pain she felt that day – and the moment she was in an ambulance to the hospital, and that she was very weak and bleeding at the time, thus as a result lost consciousness.
However, this testimony was ruled as contradictory with the statement provided by a state witness, Secilia #Nues, an enrolled nurse and midwife by profession with 26 years of experience, who testified that when they arrived with an ambulance at the scene they found the accused in the toilet having given birth, and had asked her where the baby was. The accused replied the baby was in a bag.
The witness further testified the accused was found stable, communicating and standing on her own, and she had even walked to the ambulance on her own without falling.
Nghimbwasha was represented by defence counsel Van Sittert.