Accused man admits fatal panga blows

March 3, 2015, 7:57am

Accused man admits fatal panga blows

A GOBABIS resident accused of murdering his girlfriend with a panga in August 2012 admitted in the Windhoek High Court yesterday that he struck her twice with the deadly weapon - but denied that he intended to kill her.
Murder accused Joel Petrus (33) claimed in a plea explanation to Judge Alfred Siboleka that as far as he could recall he hit his girlfriend, Maria Erastus, twice with a panga somewhere on her neck. 
He said he did that in anger after she had tried to hit him with the panga first during an argument and because he had found a suspicious text message on her cellphone.
He wanted to hit her with the flat side of the panga, but found that he had blood on his hands after she had fallen to the floor of the house where they were living at Gobabis, he stated.
Realising that he must have struck Erastus with the sharp side of the panga's blade, he then covered her with a duvet, since he thought she might be cold otherwise, and left their house, locking the door behind him, Petrus said. He claimed he wanted to go to some of his friends to ask them for taxi money so that he could take Erastus to a hospital. However, no one could help him with money for a taxi, and he then spent the rest of the night at his friends' house.
Petrus added that he travelled to Windhoek the next morning, after he had heard that a mob of people armed with sharp weapons were looking for him. He was arrested in Windhoek later.
Petrus is standing trial on a charge of murder, on which he has denied guilt. The prosecution is alleging that he murdered Erastus (33) in their home at Epako, Gobabis, during the night of 4 to 5 August 2012.
Maria's father, Thomas Erastus, told the court yesterday that he discovered his daughter's body lying in a pool of blood under a blanket on the floor of his house when he returned home on the morning of 5 August 2012. Erastus said he broke open the door of the house after he received no reply from inside and cellphone calls that he made to the phones of his daughter and of Petrus went unanswered.
His daughter was lying on her back, and he saw a panga lying under her head, looking like it had been placed there, Erastus said.
One of the first police officers on the scene, sergeant Susanna Alweendo, testified though that the panga was lying next to Maria's head, and not under it.
Maria Erastus had four deep cut wounds to her face and neck and two stab wounds to her back, medical doctor Musaphilly Jobarteh, who carried out an autopsy on her body, told the court.
He said both stab injuries to her back were inflicted with a sharp object that penetrated her lungs. Those injuries were potentially fatal, Dr Jobarteh said.
With the cut wounds that were inflicted to Maria's face and neck the major blood vessels in her neck were cut, leading to massive and fatal bleeding, while her spinal cord was also severed, Dr Jobarteh told the court.
The trial is continuing. Petrus, who is being kept in custody, is represented by defence lawyer Boris Isaacks, while deputy prosecutor general Jackson Kuutondokwa is representing the State.

The Namibian