Ex-constable guilty of wife's murder

2012-10-19 22:14

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Pretoria - A former policeman who gunned down his wife after an argument in Pretoria central two years ago was on Friday found guilty of murder by the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.

Judge Nomonde Mngqibisa-Thusi rejected Daniel "Bra Dan" Mphamo's evidence that his wife, Constance Mabena, had been shot accidentally by a ricochet bullet as they struggled for possession of his service pistol.

Although the State had only presented circumstantial evidence, as no one appeared to have witnessed the shooting, Mphamo's version was not reasonably, possibly true.

The former constable claimed his wife had pushed him to the ground and was on top of him, trying to get at his firearm, when a shot went off.

Shot in back of head


Mabena was rushed to hospital after Mphamo disappeared from the scene, and died of her injuries more than a month later. Mabena had been shot in the back of the head.

She had obtained a restraining order against him about six months before her death.

The manager of the Engen petrol station where the shooting happened testified he had separated Mphamo and his wife, who were arguing behind the pub on the premises, and was about to leave when he heard two shots.

He found Mabena lying on the ground, and no sign of Mphamo.

Mphamo's nephew testified that the accused had arrived at his home in Soshanguve around midnight that night. He was crying and said a shot had gone off while he and his wife were grappling for his gun.

Impossible

A ballistics expert called by the defence testified the bullet that hit Mabena was a ricochet, but said it could not have entered the back of her head while she was on top of Mphamo. The expert could also not exclude the possibility that Mabena had been hit by a direct shot to the back of the head.

The judge said there was no way the bullet would have struck her where it did if she was on top of Mphamo when the shot was fired.

Thusi said Mphamo's conduct afterwards was not that of someone involved in an accidental shooting. He also gave no explanation why two cartridges were found at the scene if only one shot had been fired.

The trial would continue on 4 December.

- SAPA
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