Windhoek-Our society craves the assistance of our courts in protecting our women and children, Judge Nate Ndauendapo said yesterday when he sentenced Paulus Ruben, 55, to an effective 35 years’ imprisonment for murder.
Ruben was convicted in July last year on a charge of murder with direct intent.
The judge found that the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Ruben was the person who bashed in the head of his live-in girlfriend, Magritha Beukes, during the night of January 3, 2012 with an unknown object and ran away.
“I have considered the totality of the evidence, and I am satisfied the alibi defence raised by the accused is false beyond a reasonable doubt and stands to be rejected. In my view, the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of murdering the deceased with direct intent. He is therefore found guilty as charged,” stated Judge Ndauendapo when he convicted Ruben.
The deceased was discovered the next morning in her bed. She had died of subarachnoid haemorrhage – an uncommon type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain – due to blunt force trauma.
Ruben was arrested nine days later at a farm near Rehoboth, where he was employed.
According to the judge the offence of murder has reached a crisis point and calls for severe punishment.
“The accused and the deceased were in a domestic relationship when he murdered her and that is aggravating. Violence against women has reached a crisis point. It is continuing unabated despite harsh sentences the courts impose. Society is crying for the courts to impose severe sentences against those who commit crimes against women and children,” Judge Ndauendapo said.
Ruben did not testify in his own defence and his defence counsel, Hipura Ujaha, told the court from the bench that Ruben is a first-time offender and was 48 years old when the offence was committed and has been in custody since his arrest. He has three children, two of them still minors aged 18 and 16. Both have since dropped out of school after their mother passed away and he was not able to maintain them while incarcerated. They are now under the care of their grandmother who is a pensioner. He pleaded for mercy and is sorry and remorseful for the death of the deceased and has repented while in custody, said his defence counsel.
Judge Ndauendapo said he closely observed Ruben during the trial and did not see a “hint of remorse” on his part. According to the judge, remorse is genuine when an accused takes the court into his confidence and expresses remorse himself, otherwise it is not genuine remorse. He has also not expressed remorse to the family of the deceased, Judge Ndauendapo said.
The judge reiterated the sentiments of State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu that Ruben’s blameworthiness is high, because he moved into the house of the deceased, where she should have felt safe, and caused her death.