21 Jun 2014 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 21 JUN (NAMPA) - A man arrested in June 2012 in connection with the murder of fourth-year Polytechnic of Namibia student Elizabeth Tuwilika Ekandjo, has been sent to jail for a lengthy custodial term.
Gabriel Johannes Petrus, 34, who admitted to killing his ex-girlfriend when he pleaded guilty to a count of murder at the start of his trial in the Windhoek High Court on 09 June this year, was on Friday sent to jail for an effective total of 50 years.
On the count of killing Ekandjo, Petrus was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment.
He was sentenced to five years imprisonment on the second count of having kidnapped Erica Embashu, who shared a room with the late Ekandjo at the time of the incident.
It was then ordered that the sentence imposed in the murder count should run consecutively with the punishment imposed in the kidnapping charge.
High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka handed down the heavy punishment here on Friday afternoon.
This was a premeditated and gruesome murder incident which was coupled with the sole intention of ending the life of the deceased person. Gabriel Petrus proved himself to be a very dangerous person and he should be removed from society for a very long period of time, said Judge Siboleka as he handed down the sentence.
The prosecution representative, State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu asked for 35 years imprisonment on the count of murder and four on the count of kidnapping.
At the start of the trial earlier this month, Petrus admitted to every element as contained in the count of murder, but denied the charge of having kidnapped Embashu.
In a guilty plea explanation presented to court in terms of Section 112 of the Criminal Procedures Act, Petrus informed High Court Judge Siboleka that he tendered this guilty plea to the count of murder voluntarily, and without any influence from any person.
He told the court that he was fully aware of the consequences of his plea, and expects the court to hand down heavy punishment as a result.
Petrus further admitted that the late Ekandjo died of strangulation as indicated in the medical report of her post-mortem examination.
This report was also handed in and accepted as evidence before court.
Evidence presented by the State during the trial had it that Ekandjo died in the early morning hours of 06 June 2012 when she was strangled to death with a tie by her ex-boyfriend.
The 22-year-old woman was a fourth-year Information Technology student.
The incident took place in Windhoek's Khomasdal area between 02h00 and 04h00 on that date.
The Namibian Police said afterwards that Petrus apparently entered the deceased's room through a window and threatened Embashu, who was also a student at the Polytechnic of Namibia, saying she should hide in a wardrobe before he went on to strangle the deceased.
It also came to light during the trial that Ekandjo and Petrus had had some differences, and Ekandjo had tried to end the relationship.
Petrus however did not want to accept that the relationship was over.
He was arrested by members of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol)'s Serious Crime Unit on the same day.
The late Ekandjo had been studying with a Telecom bursary, and in 2010 won the award for being the best student in her department.
She hails from the northern village of Elim in the Omusati Region, not far from Oshakati.
Windhoek-based defence lawyer Winston Visser defended Petrus, acting on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.
Petrus has been kept in police custody at the Windhoek Central Prison's holding cells since his arrest in June 2012 with no option to post bail until the end of his case on Friday.
He is a first-time offender with no previous records of criminal offence.
He is a father of three children.