Gobabis panga killer sent to jail for 35 years

22 Aug 2016 13:20pm
WINDHOEK, 22 AUG (NAMPA) - A Gobabis resident who was in April this year found guilty of killing his girlfriend by hacking her to death with a panga in August 2012, was on Monday sent to jail for an effective 35 years.
Joel Petrus, 35, was punished on Monday by High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka on a charge of murder with direct intent to kill and his case was dealt with by the court as per the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act of 2003 in respect of Maria Erastus' death on 04 August 2012.
“The deceased person [Maria Erastus] suffered several life-threatening stab wounds on her body when you [Joel Petrus] attacked her with a panga over a suspicious text message on her phone that fateful day.
“You had not apologised to the family of the deceased person for the loss of life. In my view, the deceased person was a vulnerable member of the society and a long custodial term of 35 years would be an appropriate punishment in this matter,” said Judge Siboleka as he handed down the punishment on Monday morning.
In his mitigating evidence for sentence, Petrus pleaded with the court for a lenient punishment.
Petrus admitted in his evidence in mitigation of sentencing that he struck the deceased with the panga, but stated that he did not intend to kill her and that he regrets his actions.
Petrus, who is a first-time offender, is a single father of three children who stay with their mothers in the northern parts of Namibia.
Deputy Prosecutor-General, Jackson Kuutondokwa has asked the court to impose a long prison term that will send a clear message to other would-be killers and deter them from committing similar offences.
According to the post-mortem report presented before court during trial, Erastus had four deep cut wounds to her face and neck and two stab wounds to her back after the incident in the Epako residential area.
The stab wounds to her back penetrated her lungs and were potentially fatal and the cut wounds to her face and neck cut the major blood vessels, leading to fatal bleeding, while her spinal cord was severed.
Boris Isaacks represented Petrus on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.