Pick-handle killer gets 30 years in prison

David Johannes

A fatal assault in which a woman was murdered in Windhoek with a pickaxe handle was “brutal and merciless”, a judge commented on Friday before sentencing the killer to 30 years’ imprisonment.

Hilya Namutenya Shikwa was vulnerable and defenceless when she was attacked in the supposed safety of her home, judge Philanda Christiaan remarked during the sentencing of Shikwa’s killer, David Mwahondamange Johannes (37), in the Windhoek High Court.

She added that Johannes’ “actions were unexpected and callous and perpetrated with direct intent to kill”.

Christiaan sentenced Johannes to 30 years’ imprisonment on a charge of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.

Shikwa was murdered during the evening of 30 October 2020 in the shack house in which she and Johannes lived in the Hakahana area of Katutura in Windhoek.

She died due to head injuries, caused when Johannes struck her with a pickaxe handle.

Johannes claimed during his trial that he acted in self-defence when he hit Shikwa with the pickaxe handle. He told the court he struck her after she had first hit him with the pickaxe handle on the right side of his head.

He also said he was angry and under the influence of alcohol when he hit Shikwa.

He struck her three times, as far as he could recall, Johannes said.

In a judgement delivered two months ago, Christiaan rejected Johannes’ claim that he was defending himself when he struck Shikwa.

She noted that when Johannes assaulted Shikwa there was no attack on him by her and said his actions grossly exceeded the bounds of self-defence.

Christiaan also recounted that eyewitnesses told the court they had seen Johannes threatening Shikwa with a panga, which he held against her neck, before he dragged her by her hair into their shack, which he then locked before carrying out the fatal assault.

Shikwa’s teenage son, who was one of the eyewitnesses, told the court that before the incident, Johannes was suspecting that Shikwa was not faithful to him in their relationship.

Johannes told the court he and Shikwa had been involved in a romantic relationship for about three years before her death and that a child was born from their relationship.

The child was two years old when Shikwa was killed.

The murder committed by Johannes was “extremely serious”, and more so because it was committed in a domestic context, Christiaan said during the sentencing.

“Jealousy and distrust, as in so many domestic relationships, were the causes of this crime,” she added.

“The present instance is just another example of the extent of abuse and crimes committed on a daily basis in our society, where the weak and vulnerable often pay with their lives for no reason at all,” Christiaan said.

She also said Johannes did not express any remorse and did not even attempt to ask for forgiveness.

Johannes has been held in custody since his arrest at the end of October 2020.

Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji represented Johannes during his trial, which began in March last year.

State advocate Basson Lilungwe represented the prosecution.

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