Wife killer gets 15 years’ jail

2010-12-08 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG father of two Emmanuel Donnelly (34) was sentenced effectively to 15 years’ imprisonment yesterday for murdering his wife, Tania, on April 6 as well as theft and unlawful possession of a firearm.

He must serve 10 years’ imprisonment before he can be considered for parole.

Acting high court Judge Yvonne Gcaba said although no one could know what was in Donnelly’s mind when he removed the firearm from under the seat of acquaintance Johnson Ndabazitha’s car, the court accepted his version that he intended to use the gun to commit suicide.

The judge said at that stage Donnelly knew his wife no longer loved him and he could have “walked away” instead of shooting her.

About his allegations that his wife confessed to infidelity, the judge said he himself also admitted infidelity.

She said it appeared that Donnelly was abusive to his wife, hence the protection order she had applied for.

In his plea, Donnelly said he and his wife had argued on March 15 about a “revealing” dress she intended to wear to work. He had tried to stop her from wearing it and “accidentally damaged” part of it. She subsequently moved out of the house.

According to his affidavit, Donnelly said he became severely depressed on April 4 when it became apparent that his wife was avoiding his telephone calls. When his expected reunion with her and his children fell apart, he was “devastated” and he wrote three suicide notes addressed to her and the children respectively.

“I wanted to kill myself but did not know how to go about it,” he said.

The next day he was given a lift by Ndabazitha, but left his bag with money and school books in the car. When he returned to fetch them, he saw a firearm under the car seat and removed it, realising he could use it to kill himself.

He immediately decided to give his wife the notes he had written, bought a bouquet of pink and white roses and went to her workplace. “I knew that neither she nor my children would see me alive again,” he said.

He gave her the flowers and she asked him to follow her to the kitchen where they could talk in private. She told him she would not be coming home with him at any stage. She also revealed other instances she had been unfaithful to him, he said.

“In a fit of rage I removed the firearm from my pants and shot randomly at the deceased …

“I thereafter placed the firearm in my mouth and pulled the trigger, but there was no more ammunition left. I fled the scene.”

He handed himself over to police the same day.

ACTING Judge Gcaba commented that Donnelly’s sentencing coincided with the 16 Days of Activism of no violence against women and children.

She said the court agrees with those who believe the campaign should “run for the whole year and not only 16 days” and that people who abuse women and children should know that they will receive heavy sentences.

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