Murder of friend results in 19-year prison term

Tristan Losper

A young Windhoek resident who killed a childhood friend in a knife stabbing two years ago has received a prison term of 19 years after admitting guilt on a charge of murder.

The death of O’Neal de Wee (22) created a profound void in his mother’s life, and she continues to struggle with the loss of her son, who was her only child, magistrate Justine Asino recounted during the sentencing of De Wee’s killer, Tristan Losper (24), in the Windhoek Regional Court on Thursday.

Asino remarked she had no doubt that Losper, who told the court he and De Wee had been friends since childhood, demonstrated genuine remorse over the killing of De Wee.

Losper not only admitted guilt, but also asked for forgiveness from De Wee’s family, his family, the general public and the court, and cried on several occasions during proceedings in court, Asino said. However, she added: “The level of brutality displayed by the accused in this case has unfortunately become all too common. His actions were characterised by extreme brutality, reflecting a troubling trend in our society where young individuals turn to violence.”

Losper pleaded guilty on a charge of murder three weeks ago.

He admitted that on 5 February 2022 he stabbed De Wee, who was studying to become a paramedic and was a talented player for the Windhoek rugby club Wanderers, several times with a knife in the Khomasdal area in Windhoek.

De Wee died in a hospital the next day. In a written plea explanation given to the court, Losper related that he was “consumed by anger” when he stabbed De Wee, after he and De Wee had been involved in a physical fight.

Losper informed the court he was drunk when he and his girlfriend returned home during the evening of 5 February 2022, and that they had an argument because he did not want to go home at that stage.

During the argument, his girlfriend pushed him and he fell in the street in front of his home, he said.

Losper continued that De Wee, who had seen the altercation between him and his girlfriend, remarked: “That is what should happen to you if you try to beat up a lady.”

He was angered by De Wee’s remark, and after an exchange of verbal insults he punched De Wee in the face, Losper said.

A physical fight then broke out between the two of them, and De Wee overpowered him, he said.

Losper added that he went into his house, where he fetched a knife before going back to where De Wee was on the street. Losper admitted that he stabbed De Wee where he was standing, and continued to stab him when De Wee lost his balance and fell.

De Wee was stabbed six times, including, fatally, in his back, Asino noted during the sentencing.

Losper clearly stabbed De Wee in vengeance, after he had been the initial aggressor by punching De Wee, and after the fight between them had ended, the magistrate said.

She added that Losper had ample time to compose himself when he went into the house. There was no justification whatsoever for taking De Wee’s life, she stated, before sentencing Losper to 19 years’ imprisonment.

Losper was represented by defence lawyer Charles Beukes.

Public prosecutor Menencia Hinda represented the state.

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