25 years for axe murderer

The judge said Moses Mbandu Murangi poses a danger to society and his family.

20 September 2019 | Justice

A Rundu man has been sentenced to 25 years behind bars for killing his grandfather with a traditional axe, a panga and a knife after the elderly man had tried to stop an assault on a pregnant family member.

Oshakati High Court Judge Herman January last week sentenced Moses Mbandu Murangi (26), who had been convicted of murder and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily. The first charge related to Murangi assaulting a pregnant family member with a stick.

When his 78-year-old grandfather, Hamutenya Siyukifeni Eino, tried to stop the assault, the accused “turned on him by brutally attacking him with an axe, panga and knife,” January said.

The judge said Murangi's decision not to testify in his own defence, and an expression of remorse offered the court via his lawyer, sounded “more like lip service”.

Further, the judge said Murangi poses a danger to society and his family. On the assault charge he was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for five years. He was sentenced to 25 years on the murder charge.

The murder took place on 19 November 2016 at Mpungu in the district of Rundu. Murangi admitted in court that he had been drinking kashipembe at a local cuca shop before the assault. When he returned home, an argument ensued between him and Lahja Shuudifonya, who was pregnant at the time.

Murangi testified that his grandfather began hitting him with the “flat side of the panga, an open knife and an axe.”

He blocked the blows and eventually managed to disarm his grandfather. Because he felt threatened, he stabbed his grandfather once in the neck, he claimed.

“The incident happened fast and the accused cannot really tell what happened,” Judge January said.

Murangi denied guilt, saying he was acting in self-defence.

Murangi further claimed he only stabbed his grandfather once and did not wield the panga or axe.

January dismissed this, and said the post-mortem and witness evidence proved Murangi's actions were not in self-defence and that he hacked his grandfather with a traditional axe and chopped him with a panga.

The post-mortem report submitted during the trial showed Eino had sustained multiple wounds, including a “gaping wound on the back side of the neck, and another gaping wound in the left check in the vicinity of the left ear.”

January summed up evidence by the deceased's wife, who said she had six children with Eino and was living in severe poverty after the breadwinner of the family died.

She told the court that Murangi had “never apologised”.

Murangi did not testify in mitigation of sentencing, but his lawyer put on the record that he was a first offender and the father of two minor children, aged three and two years old respectively.

He had been unemployed at the time of the killing. The court was informed that because of the murder, he “endured torment, emotional and psychological trauma and endured sleepless nights.”

By the time of his sentencing last week, he had spent two years, eight months and 27 days in custody. Judge January stressed that the crimes were both “serious and prevalent and in a domestic setting.” Further, the crimes were committed against immediate family members.

Murangi was represented by legal aid lawyer Leon Kabajani.

JANA-MARI SMITH

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