Wife slayer gets 12 years for ‘rage’ killing

2010-12-06 00:00

A MAN who admitted that he throttled his common law wife to death “in a fit of rage” because he suspected her of cheating on him was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, of which four years were conditionally suspended by Acting High Court Judge Nalini Govender on Friday.

The judge found that there were compelling and substantial circumstances in favour of Johannes Khumalo (45) that justified a sentence less than the prescribed minimum of 15 years’ imprisonment.

Mitigating factors were that he was a first offender at the age of 45 years, that he pleaded guilty, his apparent remorse, evidenced by the fact that he wept openly in the dock, his low level of education (standard two) and socio-economic background. His blameworthiness was reduced to some extent, the judge said, because he believed at the time that his trust in the victim was misplaced “whether this was true or not”.

Khumalo said in a statement read to court by his attorney, Kelvin Singh, that he loved the victim, Delisile Precious Nkomo, and they had been in a relationship since 2006.

When she muttered the name “July” in her sleep, after an incident where she failed to come home for a night and switched off her cellphone, he believed she had been unfaithful.

Khumalo said he grabbed Nkomo in a fit of rage and they grappled and fell to the floor. “I then placed my hands around her neck and chest and began throttling [her] while I sat on her stomach. After a short while she became motionless. I saw saliva come out of the side of her mouth. I released my grip on her and tried to wake her up by shaking her body.”

Khumalo said he picked her up and covered her with a blanket. The next morning he realised that she was dead.

Frightened, he put her body in an industrial bin nearby and fled the area.

When he was arrested a month later he confessed.

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