MASERU — Ts’ehlo Phits’ane’s was outraged by the quality of food that his girlfriend had prepared for him.
He alleged that the food was badly cooked.
He claims he then hit his girlfriend, ‘Matsebang Ramoroa, with an ashtray before storming out of the house, leaving her slumped on the bed.
When he came back after some hours he found Ramoroa dead. He then buried her body in the family’s vegetable garden.
This happened in July 2006.
But on Friday, the long arm of the law finally caught up with Phits’ane when he was jailed for 15 years for the horrendous crime.
High Court Judge Justice Nthomeng Majara found Phits’ane guilty of murder with extenuating circumstances.
She lamented the alarming rate at which people were killing others and said the courts must act to curb the practice.
“In trying to strike a balance between the severity of the crime you committed and the sentence, you will be incarcerated for 15 years, and hopefully by that time you would have been rehabilitated,” Justice Majara said.
Phits’ane earlier on told the court that he decided to bury her body in the garden because he feared villagers would kill him.
He also told the court that at the time when he committed the crime, he suffered from temporary insanity.
However, the psychiatrist who examined him said Phits’ane was of a sound mind and there was no history of mental illness in his family.
Justice Majara said she hoped that by that time Phits’ane completes his sentence he would have learnt to respect human life.
“You showed an inhumane behaviour by killing a defenceless woman and burying her body in a shallow grave,” she said.
The judge said people expected justice from the courts and there was need to pass appropriate sentences to curb the crime.
She added that in sentencing the accused she had to take into consideration the interests of the accused, the family of the deceased as well as the interests of the society.
Justice Majara said she had considered that Phits’ane was still young and that he was a first offender who needed to be rehabilitated.
Phits’ane’s lawyer, Advocate Khosi Lusuthu, said the sentence was too harsh.
He said he would lodge an appeal.
Advocate Lechesa Mahao appeared for the crown.