Gatonje’s killer sentenced to 37 and half years


A Windhoek High Court turned into a funeral with weeping and mixed feelings yesterday when the killer of Cathy Gatonje was finally slapped with a 37 and half years’ punishment for murder and assault.


The convicted killer who shied away from apologising for his crimes, Elwin Gawaxab, showed no emotion during his sentencing and refused to comment after.


He was slapped with an additional five years for assault to inflict grievous bodily harm which will run concurrently with the murder sentence.


However, it was a huge sigh of relief for Gatonje’s family who had all flocked to the court wearing all-white clothes to signal their desire for peace and final rest to the trial.


As the killer’s family consoled each other, the deceased’s father who exclusively spoke to this publication said he had nothing much to say about the years he had been given.


Instead, he said he was deeply touched by the wanton violence and murder vulnerable children and women were being subjected to.


“We can forgive (him) yes because it has happened already, but forgetting is difficult,” he told this publication.


The tragic death of his 40-year-old daughter who left behind two children of school going age was an emotional ordeal for him, one which he said he will take time to recover from.


Gawaxab was 36 at the time of the commission of the heinous offence and is now 39 years of age and as he enters prison, he leaves behind his wife and two children.


He had met Gatonje and friends at a bar on that fateful night and had driven to an ATM to withdraw some monies when he suddenly made sexual advances towards the women which they turned down.


However, the situation escalated which saw him throwing a tantrum and assaulting the women, all of which but Gatonje managed to flee away.


He turned his wrath on her, and a witness testified seeing him grab her by the hair and dragging her along before he sat on top of her.


Gawaxab reached for a beer bottle with which he stabbed the deceased multiple times and finished her off with a huge rock before leaving the scene.


Doctors failed to save Gatonje’s life and the court heard that she was unresponsive and got declared dead the following morning.


The murder scene was horrifically marked by a pool of blood, a bloodied rock, and broken bottle together with pieces of the deceased’s hair.


Gawaxab attempted to remove himself from the murder scene in his testimony and went as far as stating that he never met the women in question.


Yet the court found that he indeed was the man who murdered Gatonje and called in her mother, Rachel Haipare, to speak her mind before judgement.


Her death had traumatized her, she said, and she has been battling epileptic feats ever since.


She said Gatonje had left behind her children filled with unanswered questions as to how and why their mother got killed in that manner.


They were writing exams at the same time and considering the ghastly state of their mother’s body, they could not see her remains during the funeral.


State prosecutor, Advocate Cliff Lutibezi had gunned for Gawaxab to be sent to prison for life.


His lawyer, Mbanga Siyomundji had pleaded for him to be slapped with a 25-year jail term with five years suspended for five years on condition that he does not commit the same crime.


Gawaxab is a first-time offender but his crime and interest of society weighed heavily against his favour.


Said the judge, “The assault and murder of children and women has gone unabated. Women have to be protected to feel safe,” he stamped.