WINDHOEK, 17 AUG – A Swakopmund mother who admitted in the High Court to killing her three-year-old daughter along the Henties Bay-Terrace Bay road in 2016, has been sent to jail for 25 years.
On 13 August this year, Zenobia Seas, 34, entered guilty pleas to smothering her toddler, Ava Antoinette Owoses, with a blanket on 26 September 2016.
Seas was on Friday sentenced in respect of the two charges of murder and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice over her failed plan to set the car alight with the deceased still inside the vehicle.
On the first charge of murder, Seas was sentenced to 25 years in prison and got a one-year-custodial sentence on the second charge of attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. The sentence imposed on the second charge will be served concurrently with the sentence of the murder count.
In the result, Seas was then sent to jail for an effective total of 25 years.
High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg delivered the sentence in the matter.
“You properly planned the murder of the child earlier during the day when you picked her up from the day-care centre. You acted with a direct intention to kill when you suffocated the deceased with a blanket that fateful day. The most aggravating circumstances in this case are that the child was murdered by her own biological mother. Your actions were brutal and inhumane and you will carry this burden for the rest of your life,” said Judge Liebenberg.
In her guilty pleas on Monday, Seas told the court she had no intention to kill her child, but anger, frustration, verbal assaults and other related ill-treatment by the father of the deceased and former boyfriend – Immanuel Owoseb – had forced her to commit the offence.
Seas confirmed before court that she had initially planned to end both Ava’s life and her own, but the attempt to kill herself backfired when members of the Henties Bay neighbourhood watch arrived at the scene and removed her from the vehicle.
She told the court she entered the guilty pleas on her own free will and was not influenced by any person or persons to admit to committing the murder offence.
Seas, who was employed at Husab Mine at the time of the incident, drove from Swakopmund with her daughter to about 112 kilometres northwest of Henties Bay, where she killed the toddler.
After suffocating the child, Seas put firewood under her vehicle in an effort to burn herself and the toddler’s body inside the car.
The wood had, however, not caught fire when the members of the neighbourhood watch and police arrived at the scene and arrested her.
Her trial was dealt with by the court in terms of the strict provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act of 2003, which warrants heavy punishment upon conviction.
Seas is a first offender and was represented by State-funded defence lawyer Mposikeng Dube.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef appeared for the prosecution.