Man sentenced to life imprisonment for killing his girlfriend

The Mpumalanga Division of the High Court, Mbombela, South Africa has sentenced a 45-year-old man, Themba Stsompana Mahlangu, to life imprisonment for premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Tumelo Maria Mamogale. 



The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Regional spokesperson,  DPP Mpumalanga, Monica Nyuswa, in a statement on Monday, October 16, 2023, said Mahlangu and the deceased were residing together in Mashishing in the district of Thaba Chweu.



In the early morning of 04 October 2022, the deceased neighbours heard her screaming and went to investigate. They found the accused assaulting the deceased, hitting her with fists and bumping her against the neighbour’s gate. 



The neighbours tried to intervene, and the accused pretended to have listened and backed off. When the neighbours went back to their houses, the accused continued the assault and stabbed the deceased with a broken bottle. 



After realizing that the deceased was no longer responsive, he fled the scene, leaving the deceased fighting for her life. She later succumbed to her injuries and died.



The accused was arrested the same day and pleaded not guilty to the offence. He alleged that on the day of the incident, they were attacked by the group of four unknown males. 


State Advocate Antoinette Nkosi led testimonies of three neighbours who witnessed the crime. An investigating officer also testified from what he observed from the crime scene. This was supported by a postmortem report that confirmed that the deceased died of sharp force injury to the neck.



In aggravation of sentence, Advocate Antoinette Nkosi handed in victim impact statement compiled by the deceased’s mother facilitated by Court Preparation Officer Zodwa Lekhuleni. She cited that she cannot come to terms with the death of her daughter as she had lost weight and now has to be the grandmother and the mother of the deceased‘s minor kids who always ask why their mother died.



Before sentencing the accused, acting Judge Sheila Msibi remarked that the country is suffering high levels of violent crimes, particularly gender-based violence in domestic relationships. 



The court found that there are no compelling circumstances for it to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence and sentenced the accused to life imprisonment. The court further declared the accused unfit to possess a firearm.


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