Axe killing no accident, court finds

2011-09-02 21:04

Pretoria - A Soshanguve man who was arrested while partying with family after hacking his wife to death with an axe and hiding her body in a cemetery was found guilty of murder by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on Friday.

Convicting Soshanguve toolmaker Godfrey Sindi Macheke, 42, of murdering his wife Margareth in 2006, Judge Peter Mabuse said he had deliberately attacked his wife and did not kill her by accident as he claimed.

Macheke did not testify in his own defence, but claimed in a plea explanation that he accidentally killed his wife when he swung an axe at the man he caught her with in their house.

He said he panicked when he realised his wife was dead and drove her body to the Winterveld cemetery, where he buried her in a shallow grave on top of a recently dug existing grave.

The State presented evidence that Macheke had cleaned the house of all visible traces and had kept quiet about what had happened until police found traces of blood in the house using chemicals.

He only then showed them where he had hidden his wife's body.

When family and friends started asking where his wife was, he told them she had gone to see her parents.

Gaping wound

Macheke was also convicted of contravening a protection order his wife obtained against him earlier.

An autopsy revealed that she had a gaping wound in her head, a fractured skull, other fractured bones in her face, and a fractured fist and fingers.

Mabuse said it was significant that Macheke had not told the police or anyone else that his wife's death had been an accident.

He told a witness that he and his wife were home alone the previous night, which contradicted his claims that there had been a third person in the house.

Macheke had also used an axe in the attack, which could fell a person with one blow and required the use of two hands.

If used at close quarters, Macheke was not likely to have missed his target if there had been a third person in the house.

He had also not explained why his wife had so many injuries to different parts of her body, which were clearly not inflicted with one blow.

Mabuse said it was unlikely that she would have brought another man to the house, as she used to complain to the police that her husband assaulted her.

The trial was postponed to December 12 for sentencing proceedings.

Macheke's bail was extended.

- SAPA

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