Man killed ‘abusive’ stepdad

2009-07-01 00:00

A YOUNG Eastwood man who stabbed his stepfather to death because he believed the man would eventually kill him was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment yesterday by a Pietermaritzburg Regional Court.

Damien Gounden (23) admitted to killing Edward Hector in October 2007, but pleaded not guilty on the grounds that had he not killed Hector, Hector would have killed him.

At his hearing last month, Gounden also admitted the killing was intentional, that he stabbed Hector at least four times, and that his attorney had explained to him that his defence was not legitimate as there was no imminent threat to his life.

Although prosecutor Sipho Thwala urged the court to impose a life sentence on Gounden, magistrate Jan Venter found there were compelling and substantial circumstances to justify a lower term than the prescribed minimum.

Venter based his decision on evidence by senior psychiatrist Dr John Dunn of the Midlands Hospital Complex, who said Gounden showed characteristics of anti-social behaviour. Rehabilitation could help him conform to acceptable social behaviour.

Based on Gounden’s plea and other evidence, Dunn found also that his stepfather’s alleged belittlement of him had contributed to his feeling of resentment toward his stepfather.

In his plea, the young man said Hector, a coloured man, allegedly used to look down on his “poor Indian family ... [and made Gounden] look stupid” because he had never had sex.

He said his stepfather threatened to kill him several times before the incident. He said he did not have a good relationship with Hector, who married his mother in 1992.

According to the statement, Gounden admitted that before the murder, he had sniffed glue that he bought at a store in Northdale that morning, along with a “butterfly” knife.

Gounden apparently went back home from the shop, where he found Hector and his mother drinking brandy.

After having a drink with them, he said he went to his room, but did not sleep. “I thought about Edward Hector [and] the fact that he had previously threatened to kill me ... I got scared of the idea that he might come to my room and kill me,” said Gounden.

“I got off my bed and banged my wardrobe door in order to scare him should he get the idea to come and kill me in my room.”

Gounden then grabbed his knife and went to the staircase, where Hector was standing.

He approached Hector and stabbed him. Hector then hit Gounden with a bottle. Gounden kicked and pushed him into the bathroom until Hector eventually fell. “I stabbed him a last time,” he said. “I may have stabbed him four times during the attack.”

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