Cape Town – The Knysna Regional Court has sentenced a man who murdered his wife to an effective 14 years in prison.
The State declined Gevandre Jantjies’s guilty plea on culpable homicide and forced him to go to trial.
The court found 30-year-old Jantjies guilty of murdering his wife, Mercia Kleinbooi, on March 7, 2020.
According to the evidence before the court, Kleinbooi reprimanded her husband after he had been walking around at night with their 3-year-old daughter.
Jantjies told the court his wife had been drinking beer and she was seated on the couch behind him while he was busy cutting meat.
He said he turned around to speak to her and accidentally stabbed her with the knife he was using.
According to the spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Eric Ntabazalila, Jantjies tendered a plea of culpable homicide but State prosecutor Aspirito White declined his plea and proceeded with the trial.
“The State only presented the evidence of Doctor Hattingh, who conducted the post-mortem on the deceased. Her observation of the wound was that it was an actual action of plunging the knife downwards and not an accidental action as per the accused’s version.
“She indicated that the angle at which the knife penetrated the deceased’s skin, would not fit in with a person cutting meat and turning around and stabbing the deceased,” Ntabazalila said.
The court heard that Jantjies would have had to change the position of the knife in his hand and had to have walked a few steps towards his wife to stab her.
During the trial, the court also heard that after he stabbed Kleinbooi, he did not seek medical help but instead went to visit his aunt. When he found that his aunt was out, he returned home.
He later visited a second aunt, leaving his wife to bleed out on the floor.
The court heard that he found his mother at the house of the second aunt and did not tell her about the incident as he did not want to spoil her enjoyment.
Upon returning home, Jantjies walked past his wife who was bleeding on the floor and instead of seeking help, chose to drink alcohol and later passed out on his bed.
He was woken up by the police the next day.
During the trial, White argued that femicide was prevalent and justified direct imprisonment and asked the court to impose the minimum sentence as there were no substantial or compelling reasons not to do so.
The court took into account that Jantjies had been in custody since his arrest on March 8, 2020.
The Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), advocate Nicolette Bell, welcomed the sentence.
She said Kleinbooi’s death was sad as she died at the hands of someone who claimed to love her and care for her. Instead, he stabbed her and did not seek medical help.
“He decided to drink alcohol while his wife lay cold in her blood on the floor. I am happy that the prosecutor declined his plea for culpable homicide and prosecuted him on a charge of murder.
“As the NPA we will vigorously prosecute the scourge of gender-based-violence and femicide as it encroaches on the right to dignity. We condemn any form of violence against women,” she said.