Wife-killer gets 20 years

2009-08-18 19:09

Pietermaritzburg -  A father of two who stabbed his wife 19 times in public at the Howick Falls was jailed for 20 years by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday.

Jaiseelan Govindsamy, 41, admitted he killed his wife Anthea, but pleaded not guilty to her murder, saying he was incapable of controlling his actions on the day, a Sunday afternoon in March 2007.

Judge Esther Steyn and her assessors, however, rejected his defence and found he premeditated her murder.

He drove a car to the falls area and took along the murder weapon, a long knife. He showed no consideration for the life of his wife who was a mother, a sister and daughter. Their children were affected by her murder and his arrest.

Steyn said he was unable to cope with the fact that she wanted a divorce.

At the scene of the murder he repeated: "If I can't have you, no-one can."

The court found substantial and compelling circumstances which allowed it to impose a sentence more lenient than the prescribed life for premeditated murder. He was a first offender, suffered from depression and sought help for it, was unable to deal with her decision to leave him, was affected by alcohol and drugs and showed no propensity to violence, other than the day of the murder.

In isolation these factors would not have constituted circumstances allowing the court to depart from the prescribed life sentence, but taken together they did.

He had been in custody for two years and five months.

Govindsamy's family and his wife's family both want custody of the two children.