Murder convict gets 20 years

Youngman Dube
Youngman Dube

FRANCISTOWN: A Matshelagabedi man who killed his wife in 2009 under unclear circumstances was found guilty by the High Court on Thursday and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

When delivering a summary of the judgement, Justice Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe said it was not in doubt that Youngman Dube murdered Hanifa Dube at Matshelagabedi and then later simulated that his wife died in a car accident.

He said although it was clear that Youngman has admitted to having killed his wife, it was not clear if he hacked her to death with an axe or that she died after he threw an axe at her.

According to the pathologist’s evidence, Ketlogetswe said, Hanifa sustained one cut on the head, which led to her untimely death.

Ketlogetswe said it was clear from the evidence adduced before court that the accused and deceased were having a tumultuous marriage that was characterised by mistrust and fear.

The judge said Youngman told the court that prior to the day the unfortunate incident occurred, he (Youngman) saw Hanifa kissing another man at Ntshe House in Francistown along a corridor, but he decided to say nothing to her at that moment.

The accused, Ketlogetswe said, told the court that he waited for the deceased to come home and after she returned home that evening, he asked her why was she kissing another man at Ntshe House.

In reply, Ketlogetswe said, Youngman told the court that Hanifa told him that she kissed the man because, “he was just like any other man”.

Ketlogetswe added that Youngman’s version was doubtful because Hanifa could not have mustered the courage to say so since she lived in fear of the accused.

To demonstrate that Hanifa lived in constant fear, Ketlogetswe said, Hanifa would sometimes call her neighbour Chandapiwa-who also testified in court-to come and sleep with her because she was afraid of Youngman.

The court also noted that the acrimony between Youngman and Hanifa had reached fever pitch as the accused and deceased were sleeping in separate bedrooms within the same house.

“After the accused threw an axe at the deceased, he told the court that he immediately took her to the car with an intention to take her to Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital. On the way he said he realised that his wife may have died. He said that he then started to panic and reversed the car… He said that the car then fell into a culvert but it was not damaged,” said Ketlogetswe.

“The accused said that he then came up with a plan to simulate that an accident had happened. He said he started to break the windscreen and lights of the car, but was thereafter arrested by the police who took him to the District Commissioner (DC) to write a confession statement.

He said that he told the DC that he had a misunderstanding with his wife before she died…This court is now enjoined to look at evidence produced before and see whether there were any exceptional extenuating circumstances that may have led the accused to kill the deceased.”

According to Ketlogetswe, the law prescribes that where exceptional extenuating circumstances exist, the court cannot impose the death penalty but impose other sentences prescribed by the law.

“The result is therefore that this court finds that there were exceptional extenuating circumstances that led the accused to commit the offence. The accused has already been found guilty of murder and is therefore called upon to plead,” said Ketlogetswe.

In mitigation, the accused’s attorney Keitshegile Sechele pleaded with the court to be lenient when sentencing the accused because he has been a law-abiding citizen since 1992 when he last had brushes with the law until 2009 when he committed the current offence.

“The accused has not been well ever since his wife passed on. This matter has been traumatising him for close to 10 years. We submit that he is not someone who is beyond redemption and should be given another

chance in life. We pray with the court to tamper justice with mercy… We humbly apologise to the family of the deceased, her friends, work colleagues and anyone who knew her. It is our humble submission that they will now find closure,” Sechele pleaded.

Moffat Dick appeared for the State. Sentence on the matter was expected to be delivered yesterday at 3pm.

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