The Free State High Court sentenced Thabang Patrick Lehahla (24) to 27 years and six months direct imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend, Tshepiso Innocentia Molupe (20), and revisited assault cases that were related to domestic violence.
On Sunday, 29 May 2022, Thabang arrived home drunk and a fight over money ensued between the couple. He assaulted the seven-month-pregnant girlfriend with his hands, a broom stick and stabbed her with an unknown sharp object.
On the same day, at about 13:45, Thabang’s mother arrived from Church and found the deceased lying on the floor of the house, not responding.
She then contacted the ambulance as well as the SAPS and Tshepiso was declared dead by the emergency services.
The accused had already fled the scene, with no leads on his whereabouts.
Through Detective Warrant Officer Rodger Kirkpatrick’s thorough investigation, the accused was traced and arrested on the same day at a house nearby.
During the investigation, Warrant Officer Kirkpatrick obtained a profile of the accused and re-opened nine contact related cases, which are gender-based violence cases where the accused was involved as the perpetrator.
Advocate Mkhabela, from the office of the Director of Public Prosecution Office in Bloemfontein, applauded the investigating officer for the great work he did in the case, and he said: “I wish to extend my gratitude to the investigating officer. I really appreciate your hard work in this matter and that every time I requested your assistance, you were willing, able and available to assist. The matter would have been tricky to secure a conviction because the witness is the mother of the accused, but your hard work ensured that we secured a conviction.”
The Fezile Dabi District Commissioner, Major General Moses Makubo, welcomed the sentence. “Gender Based Violence is a social injustice, killing innocent women and children. I condemn it in the strongest possible way. I want to thank the investigating officer for his exceptional work ethics, which contributed to the gears of the justice system turning to secure the successful prosecution of the accused,” said Maj Gen Makubo.