Zambezi man jailed for murdering girlfriend

A man (26) convicted of murdering his girlfriend in July 2019 has been sentenced to 23 years’ imprisonment at the end of his trial in the High Court sitting at Katima Mulilo.

Ibalela Musukubili was convicted last Tuesday after judge president Petrus Damaseb found he made up a bogus alibi in an attempt to evade being held responsible for the murder of his girlfriend, Bertha Doctor, at Katima Mulilo on 31 July 2019.

Damaseb found Musukubili guilty on charges of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, and obstructing the course of justice, and two counts of assault.

Musukubili was sentenced to a 23-year prison term on the murder charge, a jail term of one year on the count of obstructing the course of justice, and to three months’ imprisonment on each of the assault charges last Wednesday.

Damaseb ordered that the sentences on the charges of obstructing the course of justice and assault would run concurrently with the sentence on the murder charge.

During the trial, the court heard that Musukubili gave Doctor N$300 to buy groceries on 31 July 2019.

When he later returned to the home they shared in the Macaravan West area, she was not there and he noticed that no groceries had been bought.

Musukubili later found Doctor at a nearby bar, in the company of her two cousins.

He called her out of the bar and assaulted her, which her cousins witnessed.

Musukubili said Doctor made it clear to him that she did not want to go with him after they left the bar. He also said she assaulted him after he confronted her about using the grocery money for drinking.

He said he then decided to let her be and when they parted ways, she was alive.

Doctor’s body was found lying in a ditch hidden in bushes the next day.

When Doctor’s two cousins went to Musukubili’s home that morning to ask him where Doctor was, he assaulted them.

State witnesses told the court that Musukubili abused Doctor on numerous occasions.

In his judgement, Damaseb noted that not only was Musukubili the last person known to have seen Doctor alive but he also failed to prove the existence of the person he claimed to have met after he and Doctor parted ways.

Damaseb said Musukubili’s claim of innocence could have been collaborated by this person, but the police failed to trace him with the information he provided.

Damaseb also noted that the information given by Musukubili about the person he said he was with when Doctor was killed was not precise and lacked detail.

During his testimony, Musukubili said he was told by someone that the person had died in a car accident in Zambia, but he failed to disclose to the police the identity of this person.

Damaseb said “the inescapable inference” was that the person Musukubili said he was with was “a figment of [Musukubili’s] imagination”.

Damaseb also remarked that it was questionable that Musukubili failed to seek medical attention after he sustained a bone fracture in his right arm when he was assaulted by Doctor.

Other evidence before the court included testimony that shoe prints observed at the scene where Doctor was found dead bore a striking resemblance to prints made by sandals Musukubili was wearing when he was arrested.

The state was represented by deputy prosecutor general Johan Pienaar, while Musukubili was represented by legal aid lawyer Sunday Muhinda.

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