A former police officer who was found guilty of murdering his two-year-old daughter in June 2020 pleaded with the court to be lenient in sentencing as he has three other children who need him.
Sydney Ikosa (37) said this in mitigation before judge president Petrus Damaseb, who presided over his sentencing hearing in the High Court circuit sitting at Katima Mulilo on Wednesday.
Ikosa was also found guilty of assaulting his daughter Joy Ikosa (2) and of child neglect by Damaseb in August.
Ikosa’s former wife and co-accused, Chuma Simekwazi (38), was convicted of child neglect as well.
The charges they were found guilty on stem from incidents that took place between February 2019 and June 2020, when Joy, who was born from a relationship Ikosa had with another woman, went to live with her father and Simekwazi as her mother was in jail.
According to testimony heard during the couple’s trial, Joy was neglected and physically abused during the time she lived with her father and stepmother.
Witnesses also told the court that Joy was not properly fed and was always dirty.
On occasion, witnesses could observe that she was bruised, which her father and stepmother attributed to her falling.
Joy sustained severe head injuries on 12 June, 2020, at the couple’s home at Katima Mulilo’s Butterfly location, while she was in her father’s care.
She died at the Katima Mulilo District Hospital the following day.
According to Ikosa, the remainder of his children cannot afford to grow up without a father figure, and his mother (82) also needs him around.
He said despite losing his police job in 2020 because of the charges he was convicted on, he is still the sole supporter and provider of his mother and children with the money he earns from selling vegetables.
During submissions yesterday, state prosecutor Johan Pienaar said the state suggests that Ikosa gets 20 years of imprisonment on the murder charge, and five on the other charges.
As for Simekwazi, Pienaar suggested she get a fine of N$20 000 or five years’ imprisonment.
He, however, said he knows she won’t be able to afford that as she revealed in mitigation that she can only afford N$2 500 and suggested she get a suspended fine.
Damaseb said he does not view Ikosa as someone who could commit such an offence continuously given the chance, however, it was a once-off incident which took place due to the possible emotional distress he was in.
He said although he made no mention of the possible emotional distress he was suffering from in mitigation, it seems as though that was what led him to get rid of Joy and remain with the children he had with Simekwazi.
“However, it should not be forgotten that the offence for which he is convicted is very serious and involves a helpless minor. Therefore, the punishment he will get, in my view, will be a lengthy one that should be appropriate for the crime committed,” he said.
Damaseb postponed the matter to today for sentencing.