By: Justicia Shipena
High Court judge Claudia Claasen has sentenced Petrus Hoxobeb (58) to 33 years imprisonment for murdering his lover Jennifer Afrikaner on 14 July 2019.
Claasen, during the sentencing, said Petrus Hoxobeb’s act of killing Afrikaner was out of the wrath of an expired love relationship.
Hoxobeb was found guilty of stabbing and killing Afrikaner with a knife at least nine times at a shebeen in the Freedom Square informal settlement in Gobabis.
The judge said Hoxobeb led a double life. He simultaneously had a longstanding love relationship with a young woman he killed once they separated, and she moved on with her life.
This was also testified by Afrikaner’s cousin in court, who said that the accused and the deceased separated before the incident.
“When asked how she knew that, she stated that the son of the accused separated the couple and that the deceased had started showing affection towards her ex-boyfriend. The defence did not dispute this,” she said.
Classen added that the murder was an act of a scorned lover.
Afrikaner and Hoxobeb were in a romantic relationship which started a year after he got married.
She expressed that it appears that women are violated in any place imaginable.
Hence, she said there could be no indifference when women’s rights are trampled upon and innocent women are butchered at the whim of a scorned lover.
“I do not doubt that this murder and how it was committed leaves a bitter taste in the mouth of every Namibian woman,” she said.
In consideration of an appropriate sentence, Claasen said the court had to regard the triad consisting of the crime, the offender and the interests of justice.
“The weight that is accorded to each of these factors depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.”
Hoxobeb’s 64-year-old wife testified in mitigation of the sentence.
She described him as an expert in fencing and that he did piecemeal jobs.
“He used that income to pay for the house and financially assist his major daughter.”
INTOXICATION NOT REGARDED
Furthermore, Claasen said intoxication was not a factor in mitigating a sentence.
“This court also has to consider whether to give a discount in the sentence because of purported intoxication,” she said.
During the trial, counsel for the accused argued that the accused’s mental faculties were ‘somehow affected as he had been drinking ‘Twana mos’ that afternoon.
However, Claasen added that the state’s version is that the accused did not consume ‘Tswana mos’ on the afternoon that preceded the murder.
Meanwhile, Hoxobeb’s daughter testified that the accused reeked of alcohol but was not too drunk.
“Having rejected the accused’s alibi that he slept at his daughter’s place as false, no reliance can be placed on her evidence about his sobriety,” said Claasen.
Claasen said evidence shows that Hoxobeb had the mental faculties to flee the scene, having committed the horrendous murder.
“There is evidence that the police unsuccessfully searched for him during the night. He wanted the court to believe that he was in the mountainous area the next morning to collect firewood.”
According to her, if that had been the case, he would have had no reason to run once he saw the police as they approached him to effect the arrest.
“In light of this, I agree with counsel for the state that the onus was on the accused to have put credible evidence before the court. As such, the court cannot give credit to that.”
She further said he showed no remorse for his deeds.
“Accused unexpectedly butchered the deceased by inflicting nine wounds all over her body, and she died on the spot,” she said.
Claasen said the court must accept that the accused has no single remorse for his actions.
PREVIOUSLY KILLED ANOTHER GIRLFRIEND
27 years ago, Hoxobeb was also found guilty of murdering a woman he was in a romantic relationship.
“The state proved that the accused was convicted in 1995 for murder. In this regard, the prosecutor submitted that the 1995 murder was similar to this matter. He was given a sentence of 17 years’ imprisonment, and two years thereof was suspended,” she adds.
Additionally, Claasen said that although a long time elapsed between his current conviction and the previous conviction, it is relevant as the accused killed his girlfriend in the last murder.
“The previous conviction reflects on the ruthless and violent temperament of the accused and is considered a factor in aggravation,” she said.
Handing down her sentence, she said that previous convictions do not fall away after ten years in Namibia, which still counts as an aggravating factor.
“Twenty-seven years elapsed between the previous conviction and this conviction. Not even the 15 years imprisonment term taught the accused anything about the sanctity of the life of a human being,” she said.
Thus, she stated the previous conviction reflects the ruthless and violent temperament of the Hoxobeb, which constitutes a threat.
During the night of the murder, Afrikaner and her cousin went to the bushes to relieve themselves. The accused approached just as the deceased had pulled down her panties and sat on her haunches.
It is further the state’s case that the accused went straight to the deceased, pulled her up, wrestled with her and started stabbing her.
Hoxobeb had also threatened to kill another person who intervened, wanting to stop him.
“When the cousin intervened to stop him, he threatened that he would stab her too. That made her dash to get help. Upon her return with the deceased’s brother, they were greeted by the gruesome Afrikaner’s lifeless body.”
The post-mortem results depict multiple stab wounds all over the body.
“The accused was not satisfied with one or two stabs but inflicted nine stab wounds spread out over Afrikaner’s face, chest, left arm, and back. She died on the spot, and the cause of death is hypovolemia due to the heart and lung injuries caused by the stab wounds.”