‘Abused’ cop guilty of wife’s murder

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Pretoria - A policeman who shot dead his wife with his service pistol told the High Court in Pretoria on Monday he “snapped” because he could not take her abuse any more.

Judge George Webster found former crime prevention policeman Godfrey Boitumelo Modikoe, 34, guilty of the December 2010 murder.

Tshepiso Mafatle was shot once in the face and died at Modikoe's family home in Klipfontein, outside Pretoria.

Mafatle and her two children lived with Modikoe's mother after he moved out because of their volatile relationship.

Modikoe pleaded guilty to the murder and apologised to Mafatle's family for the loss and the suffering he had caused.

“I am very sorry for what I have caused and I regret what I have done. I am ready to face my punishment,” he said.

Modikoe said he knew what he was doing when he shot his wife, even though he was severely depressed, and felt humiliated, frustrated, hurt, overwhelmed by their bitter history, and confused by his wife's violent attitude at the time.

He had been treated for depression since 2007, was demoted because of a number of incidents at work and was “desperate for relief”.

“I did not plan to shoot at her or kill her or anyone else that day.... I acted on the spur of the moment. This incident was unplanned and was witnessed by my grandmother, my best friend and his wife.

“We had a tempestuous relationship. We argued about everything..., which caused me to move out.”

Over the course of several years, she had humiliated and provoked him.

“On 27 December 2010 I was desperate to see my children.... The relationship between me and the deceased had reached a record low point.

“I knew I had to ask a friend and a witness to accompany me there, lest anything happened.... I was hoping that his mere presence would cause (her) to reflect and hopefully treat me with a little respect.”

Mafatle had obtained an interdict against Modikoe and was aware of the consequences of seeing her.

Modikoe said he was talking to his grandmother outside the house when Mafatle came outside and started hurling abuse and shouting demands.

He promised to buy groceries and clothing for the children in the new year, but she was not satisfied and continued humiliating him.

He wanted to leave when they could not resolve the issue, but she insisted on talking to him, and also started swearing at his grandmother, who had tried to talk to her.

“She screamed words at my grandmother to the effect... that she is in control of that house and that she will decide and demand from me what she deems fit..., that I have no choice but to comply.

“I snapped as I could not take any of her abuse any more. I shot her... was shocked, dazed and confused and did not know what to do. I walked away.”

The trial was postponed to September 21 for a pre-sentencing report. - Sapa

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