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Man kills wife over HIV, gets life in prison

By Vision Reporter

Added 25th March 2011 03:00 AM

DENAVENCE Kamukama feared that her husband, Gerald Beinomugisha, was showing symptoms of HIV but she was afraid of asking him about it, lest he got furious.

DENAVENCE Kamukama feared that her husband, Gerald Beinomugisha, was showing symptoms of HIV but she was afraid of asking him about it, lest he got furious.

By Vicky Wandawa

DENAVENCE Kamukama feared that her husband, Gerald Beinomugisha, was showing symptoms of HIV but she was afraid of asking him about it, lest he got furious.

Before long, her fears were confirmed, when she stumbled upon a medical slip that showed that Beinomugisha was HIV-positive. Alarmed, Kamukama went for an HIV test, and foundout she was negative.

When she disclosed her status to Beinomugisha, it sparked off a series of misunderstandings and at one point, he threatened to kill her.

In fear, Kamukama fled to her parents’ home, but Beinomugisha, pleaded with her to come back. She agreed, on condition that they slept in separate bedrooms.

The family lived peacefully until one night when Beinomugisha climbed into her room using a ladder at her window and hacked her to death with a panga.
He was arrested and brought before Justice Augustus Kania at Rukungiri High Court to face murder charges.

Prosecution

First Beinomugisha was taken to Kebisoni Health Centre for mental examination whose results which showed he was sane, hence he committed the crime knowingly.
Joseph Baguma, a doctor from Nalubaale Hospital, who examined Kamukama’s body, said she had a deep cut on the left cheek and wounds on her neck and chest. He said Kamukama bled to death.

Winnie Tushemerirwe, the couple’s 21 year-old-daughter, also testified.
“We had supper with our parents, prayed and went to sleep. I woke up when my younger sister, Ruth Natukunda raised an alarm.

“I then heard noise from our mother’s bedroom, which was opposite our father’s. My mother always locked her room before she slept.”

Tushemerirwe said when she pushed the door to her mother’s room, it opened and she saw a man armed with a panga.

“There was no light in the house and I could not see the his face clearly, but I recognised his voice as that of our father,” Tushemerirwe narrated.

“He walked out of the room and I went to my mother who said, ‘my husband has killed me.’ Those were her last words.”

Tushemirirwe then carried her mother out of the bedroom to the compound and made an alarm that attracted neighbours. They wrapped Kamukama in a blanket and rushed her to Rusheshe Health Centre, from where, she was referred to Nyakibale Hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

Tushemirirwe further told court that on returning home, she and her siblings found a ladder against the wall right below their mother’s bedroom window. On the floor, were pieces of her rosary. “There was blood all over the bedroom floor. We did not see our father until the following morning, but he was arrested soon after.”

She told court that her father worked as a gguard at Kalulika Secondary School.

Meanwhile, Abel Akanyijuka, the couple’s 16-year-old son, also testified against his father. “I heard noise and woke up only to find my mother in a pool of blood in the compound. When I asked what had happened to her, I was told my father had attacked her.”

He told the court that earlier that day, he found a wooden ladder near the house and wanted to use if for firewood, but his father told him to leave it there. The morning after Kamukama was killed, that same ladder was found below his mother’s bedroom window.

Akanyijuka said he once heard his father threatening to kill his mother. “Those days he would sharpen his panga almost daily.”

Beinomugisha’s cousin, Joseph Byehangana, 44, also testified. “I was not present when Kamukama died. In 2005, Beinomugisha came to me for advice, saying his wife had accused him of being HIV-positive and he wanted to leave her. I advised him to stay.”

Simon Kashunu, 31, an officer attached to Buhunga Police Post, told court that when they set off to arrest Beinemugisha, they found empty bottles of soda and waragi (local potent gin) in his bedroom.

“We searched for him in vain. The next day, a boda boda cyclist told us Beinomugisha was hiding in a sorghum garden. We rushed there and found him lying down. He had vomited and had a panga close to him.”

Defence

Bainomugisha denied murdering his wife. “That evening, I had supper and went to work as a guard. I was there the whole night, alone. At the end of my shift, I waited for the day watchman to arrive, but by 9:00am, he had not showed up. I closed the gate and went home.”

He continued, “I found Policemen at home who told me my wife had been killed. I told them that was not possible, because someone would have come to my place of work to break the news to me. They said I was the first suspect and arrested me.”

Beinomugisha said he was on good terms with his family and did not know why his children were accusing him of killing his wife. “My wife and I were sleeping in separate rooms as a family planning method. I sharpened my panga because I used it in the banana plantation and for duty as a guard,” he said.

Beinomugisha’s lawyer, Arthur Ndimbirwe, told court that the only evidence directly linking Beinomugisha to the murder was his daughter’s testimony that she met a person at her mother’s door who spoke in a voice similar to her father’s. “In a situation of that nature, there was confusion and panic. It is not reliable to say a person can recognise a voice.”

The lawyer further said the only words Kamukama told Tushemerirwe were: “My husband has killed me.” He said that was simply a declaration of a dying woman and could not be corroborated. He also said although the panga suspected to have been used as the murder weapon was found where the accused was arrested, no one knew who put it there, because Beinomugisha was found unconscious. “The prosecution has failed to prove that the accused person committed the offence.”

Assessors and judgement

The two court assessors, Grace Asiimwe and Beth Rwentaro thought Beinomugisha was guilty.

Asiimwe said: “All ingredients of murder have been proved beyond reasonable doubt. The defence should be ignored, since the evidence of his daughter puts him squarely at the scene. We invite you to find the accused guilty of murder and to convict him accordingly.”

Rwentaro said: “I concur with my fellow assessor and advise you to find the accused guilty as charged and to convict him accordingly.”

Justice Kania agreed with the assessors and sentenced Beinomugisha to life imprisonment.

WITNESSES
“There was no light in the house and I could not see the his face clearly, but I recognised the voice as that of our father. He walked out of the room and I went to my mother who said, ‘my husband has killed me’,” Tushemirirwe

“I heard a noise and woke up to find my mother in a pool of blood. When I asked what had happened to her, I was told my father had attacked her,” Akanyijuka

Man kills wife over HIV, gets life in prison

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