50 Years for Strangling His Ex-Girlfriend

The High Court on Friday sentenced Gabriel Jona Petrus Jnr to 50 years in prison for causing the death of his ex-girlfriend, Elizabeth Ekandjo, two years ago by strangulation.

“This was a premeditated and gruesome murder, which … ended the life of the deceased. Gabriel Petrus proved himself to be a very dangerous person and should be removed from society for a very long time,” said High Court Judge Alfred Siboleka when handing down sentence. Gabriel strangled Ekandjo with a tie after she ended their relationship. The incident happened on 6 June, 2012 between 02h00 and 04h00 in Windhoek’s Khomasdal suburb.

The 22-year-old Ekandjo was a fourth-year information technology student at the Polytechnic of Namibia and was studying with a bursary from Telecom Namibia. The Namibian Police said afterwards that Petrus entered the deceased’s room through a window and threatened her room-mate Erika Embashu, ordering her to hide in a wardrobe before he went on to strangle Ekandjo.

It also came to light during the trial that Ekandjo and Petrus had some differences, and Ekandjo had tried to end the relationship. Petrus however did not want to accept that the relationship was over.

“It is common cause that every community wants to live in peace in their localities. They look up to this court to help call offenders of heinous crimes to order by punishing them,” Siboleka said when delivering sentence.

The judge further said that in sentencing he had taken the following into account: “The invasion of the deceased’s privacy in her room at 1:00 in the morning, in which the peaceful rest of the two ladies was savagely disrupted.

“The prevalence of the domestic violence crime where men go around killing their female partners so often simply because they elected to terminate the relationship.”

Petrus, who is the son of businessman Gabriel Petrus who owns Kalindi retail chain shops and long distance buses, pleaded guilty to the charge of murder two weeks ago.

Judge Siboleka sentenced him to 45 years for murder and five years for kidnapping, ordering that the sentences run consecutively, which means Petrus will serve 50 years in prison.

Petrus did not testify in mitigation of sentence. His lawyer mitigated on his half. He has three children from two different mothers, the court was informed. But he did write a letter of apology, which became part of the trial. “I hereby wish to tender my sincere apology for the deed I’ve committed towards the deceasedsaid person as per charged (sic),” he said in the letter.

“I wish to request for your forgiveness, the court, the aggrieved family and the nation at large. I wish to say that I do not have much words to express my sincere apology that may bring peace in the hearts of everyone affected, but all I can say is: This is a tragic incident of unbearable proposition and unacceptable within the Namibian society and that my deeds are all unacceptable and so punishable according by law,” the letter read in part.

Ekandjo and her room-mate Erika Embashu were asleep in their room. But at about 1am Embashu heard the deceased screaming and calling her name for help.

Embashu got out of bed not knowing what was going on. When she put on the lights, she saw Petrus was attacking Ekandjo, holding her against the floor of the room, the court was informed.

Embashu ran towards the door to go outside but she could not get out because Petrus had locked the room and removed the key, the court was further told.

Petrus then locked Embashu inside the wardrobe.

Embashu was later let out of the wardrobe and asked to open the main gate for him to leave the premises, which she did, and Petrus left. Embashu alerted the brother of the deceased and later the police arrived at the scene.

Petrus had texted family members that he was going to commit suicide, but a relative later convinced him to hand himself over to the police.

During the trial, State Aocate Ethel Ndlovu asked the judge to sentence Petrus to 35 years on the charge of murder and four years on the charge of kidnapping. Ndlovu further argued that the letter of remorse Petrus wrote and handed in to court as part of the record was not genuine. “It is a prayer for a lesser sentence, that is why it was only thought about at the end of the trial,” she said.

Willem Visser who represented Petrus on instructions of the Legal Aid Directorate argued that Petrus’s family just like Ekandjo’s family were also affected. By Tunomukwathi Asino

Additional reporting by Nampa

Source : New Era