Strangler Apologises

SELF-ADMITTED strangler Petrus Gabriel Jr has acknowledged in a two-page letter of apology that the murder of his 21-year-old former girlfriend two years ago was an unacceptable deed.

Gabriel tendered his apology over the killing of his former girlfriend, Elizabeth Tuwilika Ekandjo, in a letter handed to Judge Alfred Siboleka in the Windhoek High Court on Monday.

In the letter he also asked the court, Ekandjo’s family and the nation for forgiveness.

Gabriel (32) is due to be sentenced on Friday.

Writing that he did not have enough words to express his apology over the murder of Ekandjo, Gabriel described the killing as a tragic incident that was unacceptable in Namibian society and punishable according to the law.

“I must admit that this incident has left an indelible mark on me the aggrieved family, the court and the nation at large, which I intend to genuinely make peace with through the request for forgiveness,” (sic) Gabriel also wrote.

“I feel a great deal of remorse for the loss of Elizabeth Ekandjo, with great sadness and grief recognised,” Gabriel stated in an earlier part of the letter.

The letter is dated 9 June 2014, the day Gabriel pleaded guilty to murder at the start of his trial.

Gabriel denied guilt on a second count, of having kidnapped Ekandjo’s roommate when he locked her in a wardrobe and later prevented her from leaving during the night he strangled Ekandjo. Judge Siboleka however convicted Gabriel on the kidnapping charge as well on Monday.

Ekandjo was killed in the early morning hours of 6 June last year, when she was strangled with a tie in the rented room where she and her roommate stayed in Khomasdal, Windhoek. She was a fourth-year student at the Polytechnic of Namibia.

Gabriel told the court last week that Ekandjo “was the one I loved”. He said he strangled Ekandjo because their relationship had come to an end.

Ekandjo’s mother, Anna Kanime-Ekandjo, told the court on Monday that her daughter’s death caused a great deal of pain to herself and Ekandjo’s relatives and friends. Kanime-Ekandjo, a retired teacher, said she had hoped that her daughter would have been able to care for her and her family in her old age.

“I’m now left with poverty,” she said.

Ekandjo had a promising future ahead when she was killed at a young age of only 21, State aocate Ethel Ndlovu said when she addressed the court yesterday on the sentences to be imposed on Gabriel.

Ndlovu argued that Gabriel has not shown genuine remorse. She argued that his expressions of remorse have emerged only at a late stage of his trial, when he had no other option but to express remorse in the hope of receiving a shorter sentence.

Ndlovu suggested that a sentence of more than 35 years’ imprisonment on the murder charge and a prison term of at least four years on the kidnapping charge would be appropriate.

Defence lawyer Willem Visser asked the judge to consider ordering the sentences on the two charges to be served concurrently.

He said Gabriel was not trying to shy away from the crime he admitted committing and it was unfair to say that he was not genuine in his expression of remorse.

Gabriel is still a young man who has his life ahead of him, and he would be able to still make a contribution to society when he is released from prison after he had served his sentence, Visser said.

Gabriel has spent the past year in custody.

Source : The Namibian