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Guest house killer ‘not in control’

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Head of Psychiatry testified that Mamogale's level of accountability was minimal and may have been diminished during the heated altercation with his partner

ABOVE: Head of Psychiatry for the Northern Cape Department of Health, Dr Keith Kirimi. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE PSYCHIATRIC evaluation of a former member of the SANDF, who has been accused of killing his wife with an R4 assault rifle amid allegations of infidelity, has determined that the fatal shooting happened after years of struggle with emotional instability and uncertainty about his relationship with his partner.

The trial of John Mamogale, who is facing a charge of murder in connection with the death of 27-year-old Shelly Mamogale at the Boitumelo Jwa Sechaba Guesthouse in 2015, continued in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday after being adjourned in February in order to give the Head of Psychiatry for the Northern Cape Department of Health, Dr Keith Kirimi, an opportunity to familiarise himself with the case.

Kirimi returned to the stand yesterday where he was questioned by the state prosecutor, advocate Theunis Barnard, on the extent that the accused should be held criminally accountable for his actions, considering his state of mind at the time of the shooting.

Kirimi testified that the accused’s accountability was minimal, saying that it was doubtful he carried any whatsoever, considering his history of anxiety and depression which he believes, if nothing else, diminishes the responsibility of the accused.

“This was the end result of a very dangerous situation that began in 2010 and culminated in 2015,” Kirimi said yesterday.

“It was an emotionally charged incident that was preceded by events where the perpetrator went through a cloud of emotions including anger, anxiety and jealousy.”

Kirimi explained that Mamogale’s level of accountability needed to be determined according to his conative, cognitive and affective functional abilities at the time of the incident, pointing out that his ability to control his actions, while distinguishing between right and wrong, may well have been diminished during the heated altercation with his partner.

“At best, Mamogale judgement was diminished as his cognitive, conative and affective abilities were not intact,” he said.

Kirimi added that while it was possible that Mamogale was not in complete control of his actions when he left the room to fetch the assault rifle from his car, before returning to deliberate with the deceased for some 20 minutes and then fatally shooting her, he was not convinced that the accused was in control.

“His actions may appear controlled but he was not in control because what he did is not reflective of his personality,” said Kirimi.

“A state of automatism can last for some time but it depends on the cause.

“This was a situation where we had an accused whose depression, anxiety and PTSD came to the fore because of the stressful circumstances he found himself in.

“Depending on what was being said, especially by the deceased, he was fluctuating somewhere between despair and hope.

“However, it is unlikely that he was in a state of automatism when he left the room to fetch the gun, before conducting a 20-minute conversation, but his degree of control at that stage was varying the whole time.”