Farmworker sent to jail for 32 years for killing farmer

21 Jun 2013 11:30
WINDHOEK, 21 JUN (NAMPA) - A man who was found guilty in April this year of the killing and mutilation of a farmer's body in the Khorixas area in 2007, has been sent to jail for an effective 32 years.
The 28-year-old Otniel Somseb was convicted on 03 April this year by High Court Judge Naomi Shivute of murder, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, alternatively violating a dead body, housebreaking with the intent to steal and theft, as well as stock-theft after he slaughtered a goat belonging to the deceased person.
He was convicted upon his own pleas of guilty to the charges.
Somseb murdered August Soreb Thaniseb at Farm De Rust in the district of Khorixas between 01 February and 13 March 2007, and thereafter burned the body, crushed the bones and hid them in a cave at the Brandberg mountains.
On the first count of murder, Somseb was sentenced to 30 years? imprisonment.
He was sentenced to 12 months on the second count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, alternatively violating a dead body.
On the third count of housebreaking with the intent to steal and theft, Somseb got 18 months? imprisonment which was suspended in total for a period of five years on condition that he is not found guilty on similar offences during the period of suspension. On thecount of stock-theft, Somseb was sentenced to two years? imprisonment of which one year was suspended for a period of five years on condition that he is not convicted of any offence related to stock-theft.
Somseb was thus sentenced to an effective total of 32 years imprisonment.
High Court Judge Shivute, who, presided over the trial, imposed the punishment on Friday morning.
?The accused person?s actions were clearly to kill the deceased person August Soreb Thaniseb when he assaulted him with an arrow on the head. You, thereafter, burned the body, crushed the bones and hid them in a cave at the Brandberg mountains. You robbed the family of Thaniseb of their only breadwinner with your reckless actions. In the result, I am, therefore, of the opinion that a custodial sentence will be appropriate punishment in this matter,? said Judge Shivute as she imposed punishment.
In his submissions for mitigation, Somseb's State-appointed defence lawyer Boris Isaaks asked the court to show mercy when imposing punishment in the matter.
Somseb spent almost four years in police custody, awaiting the finalisation of this case.
State representative, Advocate Ethel Ndlovu said in aggravation of sentencing that the court should impose a deterrent custodial sentence, which would scare other would-be criminals from committing similar or related offences in future.
Somseb himself asked the court for mercy, and a lenient sentence.
According to evidence presented before court, Somseb and a certain Terence Naibab, 18, were at the above-mentioned farm where the deceased Thaniseb also lived, when the goats of the deceased arrived.
Since he was hungry, Somseb slaughtered one of the goats with Naibab's help and Thaniseb caught them in the act, after which a fight broke out between Somseb and Thaniseb.
After Thaniseb started to get the upper-hand during the fight, Somseb instructed his co-accused Naibab to hand him an arrow, with which he managed to kill the deceased by striking him several times on the head.
After he dragged the lifeless body of the deceased person into the veld, he returned to the farm and ransacked Thaniseb's house.
Somseb returned to the farm the next day, and placed grass over the body of the deceased and set it alight.
He also crushed the bones of the deceased person, and hid them in a cave in the Brandberg mountains.
The court heard that Somseb only attended school up to Grade Two, when his guardian removed him from school to tend goats.
He never knew his parents when he was young.
The case of his co-accused, Naibab, was separated from that of Somseb since the latter pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.
(NAMPA)
SKE/AS