Former Police Officer Handed Life Sentence For Killing His Ex-girlfriend In The Presence Of Her 3-month-old Baby


The High Court of South Africa, Western Cape Division has sentenced a former police officer, Thandolwethu Faku, to life imprisonment over the heinous murder of his ex-girlfriend.
The ex-intelligence officer was handed the sentence on Wednesday, December 13, 2023.
Eric Ntabazalila, National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Regional Communications Manager, Western Cape, in a statement, said the State proved beyond reasonable doubt that Faku lied when he told the court that he was robbed at gunpoint by two unknown assailants who then killed his ex-girlfriend.
“Although, the State did not charge Faku with premeditated murder, strong evidence and State Adv Kepler Uys’ well-researched strong arguments persuaded Judge Constance Nziweni to sentence Faku to life imprisonment,” the statement read.
Faku was also sentenced to six months imprisonment for her assault and three years imprisonment for attempting to defeat the administration of justice.”
The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently and declared the former police officer unfit to possess a firearm.
The sentence comes after investigating officer Lieutenant Colonel Pretorius and the DPP Office started probing what was supposed to be an inquest docket which led to the accused’s arrest and the State proving that he lied when told the court that he was robbed at gunpoint by two unknown assailants who then killed, Wendy Papu, the mother of his daughter.
After entering the shack, the couple whose relationship was characterized by abuse, got into an argument. The accused took out his official firearm and shot Papu in the head splattering her brains in the shack while her daughters were asleep in another room.
He then locked the shack leaving behind a wounded Papu and her sleeping daughters. She did not die immediately after being shot. Adv Uys argued that the mother of two was awake but unable to seek help as she had a bullet wound in the head.
She was unable to help her younger daughter who started crying. The accused boarded his black vehicle and drove off leaving the deceased to die without providing any assistance to her and her daughters.
To cover up the murder, he abandoned his vehicle, his firearm, and his phone close to Strandfontein Beach near Baden Powell Drive, Mitchells Plain, then went to Mfuleni Police Station and falsely reported that he had been hijacked and robbed at the deceased’s house.
In his testimony, he told the court that he went to the deceased to drop off money she had requested and was accosted by two males who robbed him of his belongings, including his phone, and wallet, and requested him to tell them where he was going.
He testified that a gun was held to his head, and he took them to the home of the deceased where he knocked upon him telling the deceased it was him, and she opened the door.
He was bundled into the boot of his car by one of his assailants and later heard a single gunshot, followed by footsteps and the car then driving off. He further testified that he was later dropped in a bushy area and made his way to a lit-up area which he later discovered was Mfuleni SAPS where he reported what had happened to him.
He was eventually taken to Khayelitsha SAPS who then took him to the crime scene. The accused’s vehicle was discovered abandoned on the afternoon of 10 January 2018, near where the accused left it, Strandfontein Beach near Baden Powell Drive, Mitchells Plain, but his cell phone and the firearm were never recovered.

Under cross-examination, Adv Uys destroyed Faku’s credibility. He called 15 witnesses, comprising nine members of the South African Police Service, a Metro Police Officer, two neighbours of the deceased and the deceased’s three family members who helped him piece together a complicated case based on circumstantial evidence.
The witnesses provided evidence which showed that the deceased was shot by someone inside the shack as opposed to the accused’s version that she was shot by someone outside the shack. The eight-year-old daughter and the deceased’s mother provided evidence which showed previous cases of abuse of the deceased.
Judge Nziweni described Faku’s actions as evil and told him that the facts of the case unmasked a ruthless killer with an admirable exterior that reveals an ugly part when one digs below it. He violated his oath to ensure that he protected South Africans, particularly women when he murdered the deceased.
She found his version fictitious and was astounded that he believed it as factual. He failed to take responsibility, showed no remorse or empathy for the family, no accountability and referred to the family of the deceased as “that family”.
She described him as an unmitigated liar who didn’t appreciate what he did to the family of the deceased and her daughters who will suffer most from his actions. She suspected that the deceased was an inconvenience to the accused’s love life.
She said gender-based violence lay at the heart of the case and it was unfortunate that a police officer was convicted for the worst crime and behaviour. Following the sentence judgment, Faku informed the court through his lawyer that he intends to appeal both the conviction and sentence.
Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, Adv Nicolette Bell, reserved praise for the investigating officer and his office who sensed that something was amiss after the docket was referred to the DPP Office.
“This would have been an inquest or even a cold case had it not been for the wide-awake team who started probing and piecing together the evidence. Adv Uys did well in putting together a case based on circumstantial evidence and convincing arguments which left the court with no other choice as there was no other sentence fitting than life imprisonment,” she said.

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