Death row inmate appeals sentence

IN CUSTODY: Sam Thindimba (white shirt)

A 32-year-old double murder convict who was in July this year condemned to two death sentences by a Maun High Court has registered his intention to save his neck.

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Sam Thindimba who has since admitted to the crime of killing his former employers, a German couple, in a brutal attack at their farm in Makalamabedi in 2016, will seek leave to appeal the matter before Justice Godfrey Nthomiwa in a matter whose date is yet to be set.

Thindimba, who was locked up since his initial arrest in 2016, is also serving a 10-year jail term for the armed robbery he executed at the same crime scene.

Having committed the crime when he was only 26 years of age, allegedly drunk and upset because the couple refused to pay him, Thindimba had hoped that the high court would consider that as extenuating circumstances and therefore give him a lenient sentence.

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However, Justice Nthomiwa was not impressed and maintained that Thindimba knew exactly what he was doing on the night of 11th December, 2016 when he broke into Dambo farms and murdered Ulrich and Gisele Heike Oehl, both 52, in their home.

He condemned him to die for his misdeeds, receiving two death sentences.

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Dismissing the killer’s defence that his actions were influenced by alcohol, Nthomiwa ruled it was clear he had murder on his mind when he went to the farm.

Describing the attack as calculated and planned, Justice Nthomiwa stated: “You said they consistently failed to pay you and you went there to pay yourself; if it was the case, then it went terribly wrong.”

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He further noted that just because the tyre tracks leading away from the house showed the landcruiser had moved in an unstable manner did not necessarily prove Thindimba was drunk.

“That could have been caused by the fact that it had rained that night and the road was slippery or because he was not accustomed to driving,” ruled Nthomiwa.

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Although the judge admitted Thindimba’s explanation could be considered as extenuating circumstances in some cases, because of the grisly way he executed the killings, in this case they cannot.

Having narrated his gruesome attack during trial, Thindimba claimed to have walked a considerable distance to reach the farm. Upon arrival, he said he helped himself to a tin of canned beef and an assortment of alcoholic drinks from the kitchen, unattached to the main house. He maintains the booze hit him hard, as it was expensive alcohol that he was not used to.

He then went to the storeroom where he retrieved a bush-axe and a slasher, which he intended to use to break into the house with. However, he found the bathroom window open and crawled through.

In his confession, Thindimba said the bedroom door was also open, so he walked through and turned the light on, causing Ulrich to wake up. The murderer reacted by striking him over the head with an axe. He dished out the same treatment to Gisele, later slitting her throat to make sure she was dead.

Death row inmate appeals sentence
EXHIBITS: The murder weapons

He then loaded up the couple’s landcruiser with two rifles, laptop, tablets cellphones, cash, and various farm equipment, including water tanks. Speeding away from the crime scene, he abandoned the vehicle in the bush near Makalamabedi veterinary checkpoint.

Proceeding to Maun, Thindimba used one of the stolen phones to call his ex-girlfriend’s sister- a mistake which later helped the police track him down a week later.

Some of the incriminating actions that Thindimba is said to have done is that, loaded with stolen cash, including foreign currency, he is said to have partied with friends, later retrieving a rifle to threaten a friend during a fight over a woman at a local drinking place.

Further, one of his friends is said to have stolen money from him, exchanging it at a local bureau de change – and when the police tracked him down, he confessed to have stolen it from Thindimba who later confessed to all the crimes and led the police to the scene.

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