Komeya says sorry for killing girlfriend

01 Sep 2015 15:30pm
WINDHOEK, 01 SEP (NAMPA) - A Windhoek resident who shot and killed his prison warden girlfriend here in September 2011, on Tuesday tendered an apology to the family of the deceased.
Gerhard Komeya was on 27 August this year found guilty in the Windhoek High Court of the murder of 42-year-old Kertu Maria Tunondjambi Sheehama at their home in Windhoek’s Hakahana residential area on 10 September 2011.
The 45-year-old Komeya tendered his apology to both the family members and friends of the deceased for the loss of life, as well to his own two minor children for taking away the life of their mother.
“I am very sorry for the accident that happened on 10 September 2011 that led to the death of my girlfriend. I am really sorry that I lost my girlfriend as a result of the accident that day. I regret what happened to the deceased whom I had stayed with for a long period of time…
“I feel very sorry for the loss of life. Kertu Sheehama was a very good person, a hard-working mother and a lovely and faithful woman,” he said on Tuesday morning in his evidence of mitigation before sentencing.
He also told the court his relatives have already paid N.dollars 10 000 in cash to the family of the deceased person as compensation for the loss of life.
In terms of Aawambo customary laws, any person who causes the death of another person is asked to pay compensation of a total of 10 heads of cattle to the family of the deceased person, which at present equals N.dollars 10 000 in cash.
Komeya further told the court that he has personally made a contribution of a cow and an amount of N.dollars 3 000 in cash towards Sheehama’s funeral expenses.
He is a first-time offender with no previous criminal offence.
On 27 August this year, High Court Judge Naomi Shivute found Komeya guilty on a charge of murder; attempted murder for firing shots in the direction of his minor child, two-year-old Lucia Komeya; a charge of pointing a firearm at Rebekka Sheehama, the biological sister of the deceased person; malicious damage to property when he destroyed a mobile phone belonging to his late girlfriend; as well as a charge of defeating or obstructing the course of justice by attempting to remove some of the spent cartridges from the crime scene.
On the count of murder, which was dealt with by the court in terms of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act Four (4) of 2003, he was found guilty with intention to kill his late girlfriend.
“I accept the State's evidence that you, Gerhard Komeya, told the deceased person to stand up so that you can kill her along with her two children (Eveline Komeya, 10, and Lucia Komeya).
“Your version that gunshots that struck the deceased person went off accidentally from the shotgun cannot be possibly true and your version is, therefore, rejected by the court as false. You had an intention to kill the deceased person that fateful day,” said Judge Shivute.
On 18 February this year during trial, Komeya denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he had no intention to kill his girlfriend by pleading not guilty to all of the five charges levelled against him.
He claimed that the gunshots which led to Sheehama’s death went off accidentally during a tense scuffle between the two.
Delivering instructions to his defence lawyer during the cross-examination of State witness Rebekka Sheehama during her evidence-in-chief, Komeya said he had no intention to kill his girlfriend.
“Some heated verbal arguments erupted when the deceased person confronted me, wanting to know why I was travelling to the North without her knowledge. At that particular moment, she was angry and pushed me when she heard that I was about to travel to the North. During this scuffle, shots which went off accidentally from the shotgun hit and killed the deceased.”
However, his version of events was flatly dismissed by Judge Shivute as “mere fabrications, lies and afterthoughts”.
State witness Rebekka Sheehama said she personally saw Komeya loading the weapon with bullets.
“Three gunshots were fired, of which two gunshots hit the deceased person in the mouth and lower part of her jaw. A third bullet was found in the chamber of the shotgun,” the State witness recounted.
Credible evidence presented before court during trial had it that Komeya shot his girlfriend dead, and this occurred during a time when Sheehama was scheduled to be transferred from Windhoek to the coastal town of Swakopmund in the Erongo Region as part of her promotion to a higher position.
Family members, relatives and neighbours, who were also State witnesses, told the court that the couple’s relationship was characterised by violence and abuse.
He was arrested by the police at their house in the Hakahana area of Katutura shortly after the incident.
Defence lawyer Monty Karuaihe is defending Komeya on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.
Komeya remains in police custody.
Trial continues Wednesday.