Thursday, December 14, 2023

Former police officer sentenced to life imprisonement for murdering his ex-girlfriend in Khayelitsha

WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS GRAPHIC DETAILS


A former crime intelligence officer was sentenced by the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, to life imprisonment, after he was found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Wendy Papu.

PICTURE: Adobe Stock


The court, led by Judge Constance Nziweni, heard that Thandolwethu Faku, lied that he was robbed at gunpoint by two unknown assailants who then killed Papu. The State proved that the off-duty police officer visited his ex-girlfriend’s shack on the evening of 9 January 2018, at R106 Site B, Khayelitsha. At the time Papu, her 8-year-old daughter from another relationship and the couple’s three-months-old daughters were asleep.

‘’After entering the shack, the couple whose relationship was characterized by abuse, got into an argument. The accused took out his official firearm and shot Papu in the head splattering her brains in the shack while her daughters were asleep in another room. He then locked the shack leaving behind a wounded Papu and her sleeping daughters. She did not die immediately after being shot. Adv Uys argued that the mother of two was awake but unable to seek help as she had a bullet wound in the head.

The court heard that Faku boarded his black vehicle and drove off leaving the deceased to die without providing any assistance to her and her daughters. To cover up the murder, he abandoned his vehicle, his firearm, and his phone close to Strandfontein Beach near Baden Powell Drive, Mitchells Plain, then went to Mfuleni Police Station and falsely reported that he had been hijacked and robbed at the deceased’s house.

‘’In his testimony, he told the court that he went to the deceased to drop off money she had requested and was accosted by two males who robbed him of his belongings, including his phone, and wallet, and requested him to tell them where he was going. He testified that a gun was held to his head, and he took them to the home of the deceased where he knocked upon him telling the deceased it was him, and she opened the door. He was bundled into the boot of his car by one of his assailants and later heard a single gunshot, followed by footsteps and the car then driving off. He further testified that he was later dropped in a bushy area and made his way to a lit-up area which he later discovered was Mfuleni SAPS where he reported what had happened to him. He was eventually taken to Khayelitsha SAPS who then took him to the crime scene. The accused’s vehicle was discovered abandoned on the afternoon of 10 January 2018, near where the accused left it, Strandfontein Beach near Baden Powell Drive, Mitchells Plain, but his cell phone and the firearm were never recovered,’’ said Eric Ntabazalila, NPA Western Cape spokesperson.

'’Under cross-examination, Adv Uys destroyed Faku’s credibility. He called 15 witnesses, comprising nine members of the South African Police Service, a Metro Police Officer, two neighbours of the deceased and the deceased’s three family members who helped him piece together a complicated case based on circumstantial evidence. The witnesses provided evidence which showed that the deceased was shot by someone inside the shack as opposed to the accused’s version that she was shot by someone outside the shack. The eight-year-old daughter and the deceased’s mother provided evidence which showed previous cases of abuse of the deceased,’’ he added.

Judge Nziweni described Faku’s actions as ‘’evil’’, showing no remorse or empathy. She described him as an unmitigated liar who didn’t appreciate what he did to the family of the deceased and her daughters who will suffer most from his actions.

Judge Nziweni said gender-based violence lay at the heart of the case, adding it was unfortunate that a police officer was convicted for the worst crime and behaviour.

Following the sentence judgment, Faku informed the court through his lawyer that he intends to appeal both the conviction and sentence.

Faku was also sentenced to six months imprisonment for her assault and three years imprisonment for attempting to defeat the administration of justice.

The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently and declared the former police officer unfit to possess a firearm.

 

Done By: Mitchum George

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