WINDHOEK – A taxi driver from Katima Mulilo was last Thursday convicted for the murder of his girlfriend of four years, by Oshakati High Court Judge Herman January.
Sonny Josepher Mbeha, 37, was found guilty of murder with direct intent for stabbing Mbolowa Melody Monde, 18 times all over her body with a knife, in the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day of 2012.
He is also convicted on two counts of assault by threat, for threatening Simaata Mabuku Cyril and Maunga Songa Austin with a knife.
According to the charge sheet, Mbeha and the deceased were lovers who co-habited at the house of the deceased in Katima Mulilo. He went to the house of the deceased the night before the murder, but was refused entry, but somehow managed to gain entry during the early morning hours of Valentine’s Day and a quarrel ensued between him and the deceased.
He then stabbed the deceased and when the complainants in the assault charges tried to intervene, he threatened them with a knife and chased them away.
Mbeha denied guilt on the charges and pleaded self-defense. According to him, the deceased wanted to stab him with the knife and he managed to get it from her and only inflicted four stab wounds, at the back of her thigh and under the arm. He further testified that he left the house because of fear and confusion and that he would not have stabbed the deceased if he was not in fear and pain. The two complainants on the assault charges testified they saw the accused stab the deceased with a knife with a blade of at least 18cm long and that she was seated between his legs while standing.
Judge January said that he found the testimonies of these witnesses reliable in all material aspects. “They were not shaken in cross examination and corroborated each other on material aspects,” the judge remarked. He went on to say that although the deceased was their aunt, he could find no reason to suspect their evidence was bias. The accused’s evidence on the other hand was fanciful and tailored as the case progressed to suit his case, the judge further stated. According to the judge, the alleged facts Mbeha gave during his evidence amounted to mere afterthoughts. He said that the evidence of the two boys is that the accused chased them with a knife in his hand in an attacking or cutting position.
“They ran away because they observed that the accused already stabbed the deceased and they feared for their lives.
Although the accused did not utter any threatening words towards them, I find that they believed, according to their evidence, that the accused could assault them by gesturally threatening them,” the judge stated. Further, he said, the two boys each observed one stabbing by the accused on the deceased. What is not clear, Judge January said is whether they observed the same stabbing. But, the judge said, this is immaterial, as the post mortem report reflect 18 stab wounds. He further said the accused admitted to having inflicted four stab wounds with the knife in conflict with his initial evidence that he stabbed the deceased on the back of the thigh and only scratched her on her hand or arm. The judge further said that it is not clear if the one stabbing that the eyewitnesses observed respectively is the same, but be that as it may, the accused admitted of having stabbed the deceased multiple times. He said that it is evident from the evidence that he was the only one who stabbed the deceased.
According to the judge, Mbeha threatened the eyewitnesses who ran away and the accused returned to the house where he was alone with the deceased.
“The only inference is that he inflicted the rest of the stab wounds,” the judge stressed, adding that the fact that the body of the deceased was found in the boys’ room, is an indication that the accused in a poor attempt, tried to shift the blame for the rest of the stab wounds.