Man (19) killed 'girlfriend' (13)

2008-07-16 00:00

A high court judge at Ramsgate yesterday jailed a 19-year-old man for 21 years for the murder of his 13-year-old so-called ex-lover in a case he said was also “about a woman’s right to make choices and to say no”.

Judge Thumba Pillay, sitting with an assessor, found Mfanufikile Miya of the Scottburgh area guilty of the murder of Nelisiwe Jwara on September 6 last year. He almost severed her head using a blunt knife, a hacksaw and a bush-knife.

The court found he planned the killing because she told him she wanted to end their relationship, and he hid the weapons in the bush a day before the attack.

Miya admitted abducting the girl on August 14 when he took her to Pietermaritzburg against her mother’s will — she disapproved of their relationship. Jwara went with him willingly while he sought work to pay damages for taking her virginity.

Judge Pillay said Jwara’s murder was one of the most bizarre and brutal he’d come across.

Miya seemed to be a young man of pleasant disposition, but the evidence showed his calm exterior masked a “cold-blooded killer”.

He protested his innocence in the face of overwhelming evidence. Pillay said the court hoped, in vain, that psychological and social reports could give insight into his psyche.

In a confession to police, Miya told how he waylaid Jwara en route to school, pulled her into the bushes and after becoming angry, strangled her till she fell.

“I got on top of her and continued throttling her. I took out the knife and started cutting her neck. Seeing the knife was not sharp enough I took out a small hacksaw and used it to cut her throat.”

Satisfied she was dead, he threw away the weapons, but on turning, saw her sitting up, bleeding.

“I went back to the spot and took a bush-knife and cut her neck further up to the bone.”

Judge Pillay said, exercising the element of mercy, he felt the court should leave some “light at the end of the tunnel”.

He said Miya is a danger as he is of an age where he is likely to form other relationships with women.

He said he is clearly emotionally unstable, and “simply could not stand being rejected”.

He said the sentence has to fit the crime, be fair to society, and give consideration to the victim and those affected by her death.

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