Youthful murder convict, Willem Freddy Eksteen, was yesterday morning sent to prison for an effective 14 years for strangling to death his 18-year-old girlfriend at Farm Warmfontein near Aroab in the Keetmanshoop District by Windhoek High Court Judge Dinah Usiku.
She sentenced Eksteen to 20 years imprisonment, but suspended six years for five years on condition that Eksteen is not convicted of crime involving violence during the period of suspension.
Judge Usiku convicted him of murder with intent on February 26 this year for strangling to death Janetta Babiep with whom he was in a romantic relationship and had a child during the period September 21 to 22, 2014.
According to the judge, while the court is mindful of the fact Eksteen was only 18 years old when he committed the murder, he already fathered a child with the deceased at that stage and cannot hide behind youth. She further said at the age of 18 it cannot be said the accused was too young to differentiate between right and wrong.
Judge Usiku said murder in the form of dollus eventualis (murder without direct intent) cannot be said to be less serious and that if sentences imposed are too lenient, they do not serve the purpose of punishment which could lead to people taking the law into their own hands.
“There is no doubt that the accused committed a very serious offence by terminating the deceased’s life at a very young age of 18 years,” the judge said. “She was in her prime life which was cut short by the accused.” She said the deceased’s family has every reason to be upset with the accused and expect the court to do justice by them, especially since he still persists in his innocence even after his conviction.
Judge Usiku stated that it has always been said that the first thing in showing genuine remorse is to acknowledge the wrongfulness of one’s conduct and then demonstrate remorsefulness. “Accused has so far not shown any remorse for what he has done,” she added.
According to the judge, there is no doubt crimes of violence against women are on the rise and it is, therefore, desirable that courts must pass sentences that have retributive effects, and which will send out a clear and unequivocal message to society that such behaviour cannot be condoned or tolerated.
“The offences of murder in domestic settings are now on the increase. Courts are trying their best to root out this evil, but such crimes continue everyday whereby the taking of life has now become commonplace,” the judge remarked.
According to the judge, it is against this background the courts are called upon to protect the most vulnerable group of women, especially the young ones who are the backbone of society. “The court must, therefore, be thoroughly aware of its responsibility to the community and by acting steadfastly, impartially and fearlessly announce to the world in unambiguous terms its utter repugnance and contempt of such conduct,” the judge emphasised.”
Milton Engelbrecht of Engelbrecht Attorneys appeared on behalf of Eksteen on instructions of legal aid while State Advocate Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura prosecuted.