Life for killing girlfriend

2008-03-11 00:00

The men of our country must stop regarding women as their possessions, to do with as they please, including killing them when they exercise their right to choose with whom they want a relationship.

These were the words of Pietermaritzburg High Court Judge Vivienne Niles-Duner before she imposed a sentence of life imprisonment on 31-year-old Mandla Wiseman Ngidi of Edendale for the "brutal" murder of his former lover, Nomusa Princess Mchunu (25), on January 29, 2006.

The court found that Ngidi "hunted down" Mchunu and shot her dead after she ended her relationship with him and became involved with another man, Sifiso Khumalo.

Niles-Duner said this was "another one of those cases where a man simply cannot take being replaced".

She said courts hear and read in the media all the time about the rights of women and children and how they should be protected. Sadly, despite heavy sentences imposed for crimes against women and children, they continue.

She ruled that there were no compelling and substantial circumstances that would justify the imposition of less than the prescribed minimum life imprisonment for premeditated murder.

Earlier, Ngidi’s counsel had urged the court to accept as a compelling and substantial circumstance the fact that Ngidi had handed himself over to the police.

Judge Niles-Duner said apart from Ngidi’s statement that it was "sad" that Mchunu had died as he did not intend to kill her, he had shown no remorse. He had also persisted in a defence designed to extricate himself by saying the shooting had been accidental.

In a statement before court, Ngidi had claimed he was not guilty of murder, but of culpable homicide.

Ngidi said that on January 27 he had found a firearm "lying in the grass" close to his home. He was advised by a friend to hand it over to police and had intended to do so.

While returning home with the gun in his possession, he had met someone and asked if he had seen Mchunu. He was told she was "with Sifiso Khumalo at Sifiso’s house". The person said he had been asked to put a padlock on the door.

Ngidi said he was "puzzled" and went to the house. After knocking he heard a window open at the back and not knowing what to expect, he drew the firearm. He saw Mchunu who screamed: "Mandla, I’m sorry; I didn’t know you’d come here".

Ngidi claimed Mchunu grabbed the gun from his hand and a shot went off, striking Mchunu in the neck.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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