Judges’ pity for killer

2013-05-22 00:00

WHEN 21-year-old Lungisani Ntuli found out his girlfriend, Mbali Phiri, was HIV positive and had hidden the fact from him, he felt as if his life had ended.

Anger and emotional stress drove him to commit murder and he ended up stabbing Phiri repeatedly.

Pietermaritzburg high court appeal Judges Jerome Mnguni and Trevor Gorven yesterday accepted that Ntuli had “lost control” on February 6, 2011, and reduced his jail sentence from 15 to 10 years.

Ntuli had pleaded guilty to Phiri’s murder in the Newcastle Regional Court.

He said in mitigation of sentence he hadn’t planned the murder and it was not something he’d thought he would have to face in his life.

He also said he was “very … hurt” because he’d loved Phiri.

“I wanted to be with her for my whole life,” he said.

In his written plea to court, he said he and Phiri were involved in a loving relationship from November 2009.

“I loved the deceased [Phiri] and did not see any other females during our time together. She was the only one in my life,” he said.

Ntuli said the day before the stabbing he found a certificate in their room showing that Phiri had undergone an HIV test on March 8, 2010, and tested positive.

“I felt like my world turned upside down. I was hurt emotionally and was so angry with the deceased [Phiri] because she was the one who insisted that I stop using protection when we had sexual intercourse because she preferred it without. We had sexual intercourse numerous times after she tested positive,” he said.

Ntuli said Phiri even fell pregnant with their child, but miscarried in September 2010.

They’d been trying to conceive a second baby because he wanted a child with her, he said.

“She had gone along with this knowing the whole time she was HIV positive,” he stated.

Ntuli added that he had gone for an HIV test in early 2010 and tested negative.

When he confronted Phiri with her test results she said she hadn’t told him because she was afraid he’d break up with her. She then left the house.

Ntuli said he became “more angry” the next day, when he realised that Phiri had told his father and stepmother that he was “fighting with her” and they came to ask him what was happening.

“I really didn’t want them to find out what the issue was between us.

“I didn’t want anyone to know,” he said.

He said after his parents left he was emotionally stressed and angry. He saw a knife on the table, took it and started stabbing Phiri with it.

He did not know how many times he stabbed her because he was so angry.

A post-mortem report revealed that Phiri died of multiple stab wounds to her chest and abdomen which penetrated both her lungs, heart, abdomen and intestine.

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