Convicted cop killer maintains innocence

2013-09-18 16:37

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Cape Town - Namibian national Fabianus Fillipus maintained his innocence on Wednesday despite being convicted of killing two police constables in Cape Town.

He took the stand in the Western Cape High Court to convince Judge Patricia Goliath that he should not be given the minimum prescribed sentence of life in prison for police killings.

"I'm worried I've been found guilty of something I didn't commit. I'm also worried at leaving my [3-year-old] child behind and my girlfriend," he said through his Oshiwambo-speaking interpreter.

"I feel like appealing against my sentence," he said, despite not knowing what that sentence might be.

Fillipus, 29, was convicted last week of murdering constables Pindiwe Nikani, 26, and Mandisi Nduku, 27.

The constables were shot dead while on duty at Imizamo Yethu, in Hout Bay, last October.

Nikani died on the scene and Nduku, who was seriously wounded, died later in hospital.

After being questioned by the judge, it was established that Fillipus had a Grade 7 education, had worked as a boilermaker for about a year and had left for South Africa in 2004 when he lost his job.

He settled in the Mandela Park informal settlement in Hout Bay and bought a home there when he met his girlfriend.

At the time of the shooting, he was selling goods to people on the street.

Fillipus's lawyer Rael Kassel said the killings were not premeditated, but he admitted there were no special or extenuating circumstances to deviate from the minimum sentence.

Samantha Raphaels, for the State, said Fillipus had not shown any remorse.

"What makes this case unusual is that nothing was taken from the officers, no firearms or nothing," she told the court in argument in aggravation of sentence.

"It is clear that the accused was purely there to shoot and kill. There was a direct intention to kill those officers."

She asked the court to impose two life sentences for the murders, and five-year sentences for illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.

‘Aggravating factor’

Raphaels said both officers were killed "execution style", and he submitted that this was an aggravating factor.

"From July [2013] 'til today, seven police officers have been killed in the Western Cape alone... it has become almost an epidemic where criminals seek to take out those who are meant to protect the community," she said.

Relatives of the policemen and off-duty police officers packed the courtroom.

Fillipus, sporting an ivory cross with a striped jersey and jeans, was emotionless and stared straight ahead of him.

Nikani's husband Simon Mkwani testified in aggravation of sentence.

He told the court his mother was looking after their 2-year-old daughter, even though she was in poor health.

He thanked the police for securing a conviction, but said this would not bring back his old life.

"I'm left alone with no woman because of one man who took her life and her colleague's life as well," he said.

Fillipus would be sentenced on Thursday afternoon.

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