Brutal beating kills mother of six

Juliane Katombela has died from head injuries she had sustained in a fight with her boyfriend at Okahandja in May.

13 July 2017 | Crime

A 36-year-old woman and mother of six died in the Katutura State Hospital last week after close to two months in ICU following a brutal beating two months ago, allegedly at the hands of her partner.

Juliane Katombela, 36, died last Wednesday from head injuries she had sustained in an alleged fight with her boyfriend at Okahandja in May.

It is alleged that Blaauw used a pipe or another blunt object to beat her. It is also alleged that the couple had been drinking, although none of these claims could be confirmed by police or the prosecution this week, only by close friends and family.

The accused, Sambi Blaauw, age unknown, was the father of Katombela's five-month-old son.

Following her hospitalisation in May, Okahandja police arrested Blaauw on a charge of attempted murder.

Last week, the charge was amended to murder, and he remains behind bars after bail was refused by the Okahandja Magistrate's Court this week.

His case was postponed for further investigation and the next court date was set for 4 September.

Katombela was the mother of six children, a pair of twins and another child who are in primary school, an eldest child who is in secondary school, and another child set to leave school next year.

The infant son has been living with Blaauw's family members for some time, an uncle told Namibian Sun, after Katombela struggled to care for him due to a number of health issues she had been battling for some years.

An autopsy is scheduled to take place this week to identify the exact cause of death.

Eduard Meroro, Katombela's uncle, who saw her regularly, said while it is not yet exactly clear what she died of, she had been in intensive care since late May, after she was beaten.

Her uncle said the family is still reeling from her hospitalisation and now, her death.

“We are very, very sad. One doesn't know what to do. Sambi is now in the hands of the police and we can't take this into our own hands.”

Meroro said his niece sustained her worst injuries on her head and that doctor's had said there was bleeding on her brain.

He said it was clear a type of instrument was used to beat her on the fatal day, because of a large wound to the left of her skull.

Several family members told Namibian Sun that Katombela and Blaauw's relationship was stormy and marked by alcohol abuse, when their fights usually reached violent heights.

“If they didn't have a drink, they were fine. All was well. But if they drank, they didn't get along,” Meroro said.

Another family member claimed that there had been times when Katombela was covered in bruises and other marks, and that their arguments often resulted in violence.

Family members told Namibian Sun her funeral is being planned, but no definite date could be set yet due to financial constraints.

Meroro said the family hoped to pool sufficient funds together to hold the funeral by the end of the month.

In February 2016, the gender ministry reported that over 10 000 cases of gender-based violence (GBV) were investigated by the Namibian police over the course of three years.

Incidents of common assault, rape and assault with grievous bodily harm topped the list of complaints made by women and children.

Numerous studies have shown that GBV is widespread and has reached epidemic proportions in Namibia, with domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner the most pervasive form of GBV.

Studies found that in Namibia, “one out of three women has experienced, or will experience, GBV in their lifetime. Furthermore, it is estimated that one out of five women are in an abusive relationship,” Sister Namibia has stated.


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