Windhoek-Otjiwarongo resident Israel Kapepu, 43, who confessed that he struck his live-in girlfriend and mother of his three-year-old son to death with an axe, was sentenced to an effective 28 years in prison yesterday by High Court Judge Naomi Shivute.
Judge Shivute said the sentence was appropriate in the circumstances, as the case had more aggravating than mitigating factors.
“Although the accused is a first offender, who pleaded guilty – factors which are in his favour – this case has more aggravating factors than mitigating factors”, the judge stated. She further said that although the defense counsel, Mese Tjituri, submitted that Kapepu showed remorse, the fact that he did not take the court into his confidence by testifying under oath and show how remorseful he was prevented the court from determining the genuineness of the contrition alleged by the defense counsel.
“It can hardly be disputed that the deceased died a cruel and painful death at the hands of her so-called lover. The deceased was assaulted thrice with the back of the axe on her head which is a vulnerable part of the body. The deceased ran to the room where she was supposed to be safe and the accused followed her and assaulted her until she bled to death, the judge stressed. She further said the offence committed is serious and prevalent.
“Cases of domestic violence have become a daily occurrence in our society and they should be viewed in a serious light,” Shivute said, in citing the mitigating circumstances. She went on to say society expects the courts to protect it against ruthless offenders by imposing appropriate sentences which fit the crime.
According to the judge, the fact that Kapepu pleaded he did not intend to kill the deceased should not automatically be regarded as a mitigating factor. She noted that he did not stop his assault on the deceased after the first blow, but continued the assault causing her death:
“The deceased was unarmed and she posed no threat to the accused. The accused committed a senseless and callous murder.”
Kapepu was convicted last month after he pleaded guilty to a charge of murder, read with provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, in connection with the death of 30-year-old Christien Gases in 2015. According to a plea explanation Kapepu entered, he struck the deceased with the axe once on her head and continued to hit her two more times, causing her death.
The axe used in the murder was found lying next to Gases’ naked body. After the brutal killing, Kapepu reported the case to the police and handed himself in.