Windhoek-The Windhoek High Court yesterday handed Outjo resident Sageus Somaeb two life sentences in jail for the brutal killing of his stepson and, while out on bail, the boy’s mother in 2013.
Somaeb killed his ex-girlfriend’s son, Remember Gaingob, in May 2013. After being released on bail in that matter, Somaeb went on to kill the boy’s mother, Charlotte Gaingos, by stabbing her 21 times on July 31.
Judge Naomi Shivute convicted Somaeb on November 14 on the murder of six-year-old Gaingob and on two charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH) and one charge of attempting to defeat the course of justice.
Somaeb already pleaded guilty at the start of his trial to the killing of Charlotte Gaingos on July 31 the same year, days after he was released on bail on the murder charge relating to the boy. He denied killing the boy.
The judge however found that he was the only one who could have killed the boy as the autopsy report indicated the boy died as a result of asphyxia, due to suffocation and he was alone with the boy at the time of the boy’s death.
According to Judge Shivute, the crimes committed are heinous in nature and although he is a first-time offender, he committed the crimes against the most vulnerable members of society, a woman and a child.
“The accused first killed Remember by suffocating him. As if that was not enough, he went to kill Charlotte, who was still grieving over the death of her son. Charlotte was stabbed with a knife 21 times. The stab wounds were located on the head (4), three on the face, four on the chest, four on the back, five on the left upper extremity and five on the left lower extremity,” the judge said.
She went on to say that Charlotte died as a result of hypovolemic shock, due to the stab wounds in the chest, and Remember was suffocated by Somaeb in whose custody he was left by his mother. According to the judge, there was evidence that the relationship between Charlotte and Somaeb was an abusive one, with Somaeb the abuser, and a young and innocent life was lost because of the unhappy relationship with the child’s mother.
“The accused planned these two murders. Charlotte was subjected to a cruel and merciless attack, this is evident from the injuries she suffered,” Judge Shivute stated.
With regard to the sentence, the judge said although the fact that Somaeb has spent almost four years trial-awaiting, which is in his favour, she is aware of the alarming increase in domestic violence cases involving women and children as victims, which is an aggravating factor.
Another aggravating factor, the judge said, is the fact that Somaeb was on bail and breached the conditions of his bail. “This is an indication that the accused has no respect for the law and human life. Under normal circumstances it would be a mitigating factor if an accused pleads guilty. However, the accused in this matter never took the court into his confidence to go into the witness box and testify in order to how remorseful he is. The accused only pleaded guilty because there was overwhelming evidence against him and he had no other option,” Judge Shivute remarked.
She went on to say that Somaeb’s actions by killing the deceased persons with whom he had a domestic relationship are an aggravating factor. It is even more aggravating because his victims were vulnerable people in the community, she said.
According to the judge, Somaeb is a danger to society and must be remove from society thus she sentenced him to two life imprisonment terms as well as six months on each of the counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and defeating the course of justice.