Home News Man gets 22 years for killing girlfriend

Man gets 22 years for killing girlfriend

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A 47-year-old Northern Cape man will spend the next 22 years behind bars after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend after she informed him that she had aborted her baby.

Andries Buffel with his legal representative, Pierre Fourie, in the Northern Cape High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie

FORTY-seven-year-old Andries Buffel will spend the next 22 years behind bars after he was convicted of killing his girlfriend after she informed him that she had aborted her baby.

Buffel entered into a plea agreement in the Northern Cape High Court this week, where he confessed to stealing a 7.65mm FEG pistol and ammunition from his brother and assaulting and shooting his lover, Charlene Molokwane, in the head.

Molokwane died on June 14, 2023, at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley.

Buffel admitted that he did not have a licence to possess a firearm or ammunition.

He told the court that he had contracted HIV and the deceased had denied infecting him. He was also aggrieved that she visited shebeens “until late at night”.

“Our relationship was characterised by many arguments over the HIV infection and her drinking habits,” he said.

Buffel explained in his plea that he managed to open his brother’s safe without the keys and removed the firearm and ammunition on June 7, 2023.

He said Molokwane had requested to see what the pistol looked like.

“I knew that my brother was not staying at the premises where the firearm and ammunition were kept and that he would not notice if I took it. The deceased wanted to know how the firearm worked and wanted to fire a shot in the backyard. I set up a target and she fired two shots with the firearm. I cleaned the firearm and kept it with me.”

He added that while walking Molokwane back home in Milky Way Street in Ritchie, she had apologised for infecting him with HIV.

“I asked her why she had not admitted this to me earlier and we started to argue.”

Buffel stated that both he and Molokwane had consumed alcohol during the evening, although it had not impaired his ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

“I stood behind the deceased and started to rub her stomach, whereupon she informed me that she was about five weeks pregnant. She pushed me away and slapped me in the face. She asked me why I was rubbing her stomach as she had already killed the child.

“I was shocked at what the deceased had said and felt humiliated by the way she treated me in front of her friend. I was very emotional and decided to kill her and myself. I pulled the firearm from where I had hidden it under my clothes, cocked it and pointed it at the deceased and shot her in the back of the head. She fell to the ground and I shot myself in the chest as I also wanted to die.”

Buffel added that he tried to commit suicide twice while in the hospital when he received news of Molokwane’s passing.

“I felt so bad for what I had done. I apologise to the family of the deceased for what I have done to her. I know that I caused her pain and suffering.”

Family members of deceased, Charlene Molokwane, with State advocate Elmari Kruger in the Northern Cape High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) regional spokesperson Mojalefa Senokoatsane said Buffel was convicted of theft, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and murder.

“State advocate Elmari Kruger motivated that the accused should be handed a sentence of life imprisonment as the accused and the deceased were in a domestic relationship. Violent crimes against vulnerable groups such as women and children are rife in this country,” said Senokoatsane.

“The legal representative for the accused, Pierre Fourie, reminded the court that the accused was a first-offender, had shown true remorse by pleading guilty and personally apologised to the family of the deceased. He added that the shooting occurred following arguments between the accused and the deceased about the HIV/Aids infection as well as the news that she had aborted the baby.”

Senokoatsane stated that Judge Lawrence Lever found that substantial and compelling circumstances allowed the court to deviate from the prescribed minimum sentence of life imprisonment for the murder charge.

“The accused was sentenced to three years direct imprisonment for theft, eight years for the unlawful possession of a firearm, five years imprisonment for the unlawful possession of ammunition and 22 years direct imprisonment for murder. The sentences will run concurrently.”

Senokoatsane added that Buffel was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

Andries Buffel with his legal representative, Pierre Fourie, in the Northern Cape High Court. Picture: Soraya Crowie

SAPS spokesperson Sergeant Merapelo Pilane said that the police arrived on the scene to find both Buffel and Molokwane lying on the ground with gunshot wounds.

“Upon arrival at the scene, two adults were found lying on the ground, both with gunshot wounds. They were both transported to the hospital, where the victim succumbed to her injuries,” said Pilane.

The Northern Cape SAPS management welcomed the conviction and praised the investigating officer, Detective Constable Vuyani Links, for his thorough investigation.

The investigating officer, Detective Constable Vuyani Links. Picture: SAPS
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