Wife killing 'not accidental'

2011-08-24 17:30

Johannesburg - A 42-year-old man accused of the murder of his wife carefully cleaned their house, allegedly hid wife's bloodied body in a graveyard and partied with family, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Esther Mnguni argued that the court should convict Soshanguve toolmaker Godfrey Sindi Macheke of the premeditated murder of his wife, Margareth, as well as contravening a protection order she had obtained against him.

The defence, however, said the State had not proved murder and that Macheke should at most be convicted of culpable homicide.

Macheke insisted his wife's death was an accident and tendered a guilty plea on a charge of culpable homicide, which the State refused to accept.

The State alleges he had premeditatedly murdered his wife at their home in Soshanguve in December 2006 and then tried to hide the murder.

He allegedly stuffed his wife's body into maize bags and buried her in a shallow grave in the Winterveld cemetery.

He allegedly also washed down all visible traces of blood in the house and then kept quiet about the incident until police found traces of blood in the house using chemicals, where after he showed them where he had hidden his wife's body.

According to an autopsy report, his wife had died of a penetrating incise wound and blunt force head injuries.

The accused said in a statement he and his wife shared a house, although they were in the process of divorcing, and he had hoped to salvage their marriage.

Macheke claimed his wife had arrived home with another man that night, entered the bedroom and then went to the bathroom.

The man refused to say who he was and his wife, dressed only in a towel, told him what she did was none of his business.

"...During a moment I only remember as a blur, I walked to the kitchen and noticed an axe in one of the cabinets... with which I returned to the bathroom.

"I was not sure what I intended to do with the axe, although I admit that I was angry and in the least intended to use the axe for intimidation.

"I found both the deceased and the unknown male in the bathroom, where the deceased was running a bath.

"I could not further deal with this situation and I intended to hurt the unknown man by swinging the axe at him, but he however jumped away.

"In the confusion I accidentally hit and injured the deceased on the head where she was squatting next to the bath. The unknown man fled from our house and I was unable to stop him," he said.

According to Macheke, he had covered his wife's head with a towel because she was bleeding profusely and wanted to take her to hospital, but panicked when he realised she was dead.

"At the time of the incident, I was however overwhelmed with a feeling of loss and despair and I found it difficult to comprehend what the deceased was doing to our marriage relationship," he said.

He claimed he had buried his wife's body because he was scared of what people would think and was not acting rationally at the time.

The trial continues.

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