Dad who killed son 'not aggressive'

2013-06-19 17:05

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Pretoria - A mechanic found guilty of killing his 3-year-old son with a pick-axe handle is not an aggressive person, the North Gauteng High Court heard on Wednesday.

"Mr [Vincent] Mugwagwa is not a person who has a pattern of being aggressive," social worker Yvette van Schalkwyk said.

"If we look at the circumstances at the home, I've got great empathy for the mother and the children."

Van Schalkwyk described him as a loving and caring father and husband who was "emotionally unstable" when he hit his son Wesley with the pick-axe.

Van Schalkwyk was presenting a probation officer's report ahead of sentencing.

She said she conducted a house visit and it was difficult to talk to the children, but Mugwaga's wife of 29 years, Dorica Chipeta, helped her speak to two of their nine children.

‘Kids enjoy his company’

She was presenting a probation officer's report ahead of sentencing.

"The children enjoy his company and often pray with him," she said.

"I've spoken to the correctional officer, he is illegal in the country therefore he can't be placed under correctional supervision... His documents [have] expired."

Van Schalkwyk said by observing the circumstances at the house, there should be other ways to sentence Mugwagwa.

Mugwagwa, 54, was found guilty on 3 June.

The social development department works with organisations that can help people seeking asylum in South Africa.

Mugwagwa earlier told the court he came to the country after losing his job in Zimbabwe in 2010. He was later joined by his wife and their four children.

‘I don’t know what came over me’

In June last year, his wife accused him of being unfaithful. He chased her and the children out of the house, and followed them to a neighbour's house, where he took a pick-axe handle and hit the child.

Explaining what happened he said: "I don't know how it happened. I did not believe it when they told me I was going to be arrested... I don't have an explanation for what I did that day."

Chipeta earlier pleaded with the court not to send Mugwagwa to jail because she and the children needed his financial support.

The dead boy, Wesley, was the youngest of Mugwagwa's nine children, five of whom live in Zimbabwe.

Mugwagwa, dressed in black pants, black T-shirt and a dark grey jersey, sat quietly in the dock watching Van Schalkwyk testify.

Proceedings were delayed on Wednesday because Mugwagwa's lawyer was in KwaZulu-Natal.

Judge Nico Coetzee postponed the matter to 11:30, but decided to proceed after his lawyer was still not present.

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