Axe murderer pleads guilty

2011-07-01 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG man who became enraged and killed his girlfriend with an axe during an argument over her affair with another man was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment yesterday by regional court magistrate Paul Ableman.

Sifiso Ernest Sokhabase (40) pleaded guilty to the murder on Monday of Sibongile Ximba (33) at the home the couple shared in Alexandra Road Extension.

Sokhabase said in a statement read by his legal aid attorney, S. Ngobeni, that he bought the axe and a rope that morning with the intention of killing Ximba and then hanging himself.

However, when she returned home from work that afternoon he did not have the courage to go through with it because he loved her dearly, he said.

That night at about 8 pm, however, he and Ximba became involved in a “heated argument” about her being unfaithful when she received a call from her new boyfriend and in Sokhabase’s presence told the other man she loved him.

“That hurt me a lot and I could not take it any longer. I then took the axe from the cupboard where I had placed it and struck the deceased repeatedly on the head,” he said.

Sokhabase said he discovered a week earlier that Ximba was cheating on him with her employer.

He was “devastated” by the discovery and could not deal with her betrayal. He tried to commit suicide by taking six packets of painkillers, but was taken to hospital and survived.

After he was discharged from hospital he went back to live with Ximba.

Sokhabase said after he struck Ximba with the axe she fell to the floor and he then left her in the room.

“I was so scared and shocked at what I had done that I could not even determine whether she was still moving or not.

“I then went to my friend and told him what I had done. I learnt the following day that she had died. I was devastated at what I had done and I was afraid to go to the police,” he added.

Sokhabase was arrested the next day.

State prosecutor Pranisha Kasool urged the court to impose the minimum prescribed sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment on Sokhabase and highlighted daily reports of crimes committed against women. She said the sentence should reflect the shock of the community.

Passing sentence, Ableman said the post-mortem recorded that Ximba suffered a brain haemorrhage and her right carotid artery was cut. It listed 11 other injuries.

He said these injuries indicated that Sokhabase was enraged at the time of the killing.

He found further that Sokhabase’s extreme frustration over Ximba’s relationship with another man and her expression of affection for her lover in his presence was a compelling reason to justify a sentence lower than the prescribed minimum.

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