MPUMALANGA, South Africa – Ahead of the start of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children on November 25, a judge said killers of wives or girlfriends would be shown no mercy.
The judge was sentencing to life in prison a man who decapitated his wife with a panga.
“The judge was sentencing to life in prison a man who decapitated his wife with a panga is perhaps the most shameful human rights violation, and it is perhaps the most pervasive. It knows no boundaries of geography, culture of wealth.
“As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace,” Judge J Brauckmann said.
Sitting in the Mpumalanga division of the high court, the judge only referred to the killer as Mr K to spare his two small children further trauma.
It emerged that the jealous husband went to the house of his wife’s new lover and uncontrollably slashed her with a panga. Her head was chopped off in front of her lover’s two small children, who then ran away.
When the accused got home, he planned on also chopping up his own two small children up, but a family member stopped him.
The reason given by the accused for going to his wife’s lover’s home that day, was to fetch her. He said she had to come and take care of the children, as it was “inconvenient” for him to do so.
According to the accused, he kicked down the door and found his wife in the living room. He started chopping her with the panga in a fit of rage.
“She fell to the ground and bled profusely … There were two small children who saw what I was doing and they ran away.”
The accused explained how he went home and first made dinner for his children before he decided to also chop them up. He was stopped by a family member and went to bed.
The following morning, he went to work. He was arrested there and the police found his trousers at home, covered in blood.
The accused at first said that when he started chopping up his wife, he could not stop himself. He later
told the judge that he was not sure what he had done, it was as if he was dreaming.
The court, however, found that the accused had planned the killing. Pictures handed to the court indicated the bloody mess on the floor where he had left her and not bothered to call an ambulance.
“I am convinced that pure jealousy and vengeance drove him to this crime,” the judge said. “He must be removed from society.