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Mentally-ill child killer gets 15 years 

Christinah Motlhabane

A mentally-ill youth who hacked his three-year-old nephew to death in a row over tsabana has been sentenced to 15 years behind bars.

With the death penalty off the menu due to Onkgopotse Xabue’s psychological problems, Francistown High Court instead hit the 23-year-old with an extended prison term.

The young killer’s life was ultimately spared by the testimony of Psychiatrist, Dr Paul Sidandi, who told court Xabue suffers from manic depressive psychosis.

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Dr Sidandi revealed he first examined and diagnosed the suspect back in 2014, when the then 14-year-old was caught in a compromising position with a goat.

“People suffering from this condition are susceptible to mood swings and do not appreciate what they are doing. They become easily irritable and can act in a violent manner,” explained the psychiatrist.

Pleading for a lenient sentence, Xabue’s attorney, Lesego Lephoi, pointed out that his client was a first offender, never missed a single court session, came from a poor background, and committed the offence when he was only 20 years old.

“He also showed remorse by pleading guilty,” added Lephoi.

Considering the mountain of extenuating circumstances, Judge Lot Moroka sentenced Xabue to 15 years in a mental institute, backdating the punishment to 13th October, 2020 when the accused was first arrested. It means he will be free again by 2035.

Xabue hit the headlines over three years ago when he was arrested for chopping his sister’s toddler son, Gofiwa Omatla, in the head several times with an axe.

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The gruesome incident occurred at Piijinaa cattle post, on the outskirts of Matsitama village.

Xabue’s anger was sparked by his sister’s refusal to give him Omatla’s medical card, which he hoped to use to take the boy to the clinic to collect tsabana.

Unable to control his temper, Xabue later dragged the child from where he was playing and killed him.

Beaten to within an inch of his life by furious residents, a battered and bruised Xabue was arrested early the next morning. He has been in jail ever since.

Mentally-ill child killer gets 15 years

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