A JILTED lover will spend 20 years behind bars after a revenge attack that went horribly wrong.
In the stealth of the night on September 13 2010, a 36-year-old Mpumalanga man pointed his gun through the window of his girlfriend’s bedroom, aimed it at the body in the bed and shot twice.
His plan was to kill his lover, who he believed had infected him with HIV and who, when he became ill, had sex with other men in front of him.
But remorse immediately set in when he realised he had shot and killed his girlfriend’s 18-year-old daughter, who was sleeping in her mom’s bed.
He confessed and in 2012 the former construction worker was found guilty of murder and of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Middelburg Regional Court.
But, the man was granted some mercy just over a week ago when the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria found his personal circumstances justified a lower sentence.
The court, on appeal, reduced his life sentence to 20 years, to run concurrently with two years for the firearm count.
The court papers reveal how the crime of passion was triggered by his strong belief that his lover had given him HIV and his anger at his girlfriend’s shenanigans with other men.
“I .strongly suspected that I was infected by my girlfriend since I did not have the. virus before having an affair with her. I then became very . angry with her since after I was diagnosed with the virus she started having affairs with other men and sleeping with them in the house in my presence,” the man said in a statement to police.
He bought a gun and two bullets for R100, planning to use one bullet to kill her and the other to end his life.
The papers also paint a picture of a man besotted with his lover. A psychological report found that he “does not understand his reasons for loving [his girlfriend]” and that he believed she “must have given him some ‘muthi’ to cause him to be that much in love”.
His lawyer argued in the high court that a life sentence was “shockingly harsh” for the crime.
Judge Joseph Raulinga agreed and found that the sentence failed to consider the man’s personal circumstances, that this was his first offence and that he was eligible for rehabilitation.
Raulinga noted that [his girlfriend] had infected him with HIV … He succumbed to anger . . He acted in revenge and shot and killed a person sleeping in [her] bed thinking that it was her.”
He also pleaded guilty to the crimes, which Raulinga viewed as a “sign of remorse”.
“All the factors . must be regarded as substantial and compelling circumstances which exonerate him from the imposition of a life sentence,” Raulinga ruled.