‘Knife was removed during the post-mortem’ - Court hears gruesome details of woman’s fatal stabbing in front of her four-year-old girl

A Western Cape man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for stabbing his girlfriend to death. Picture: File image

A Western Cape man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for stabbing his girlfriend to death. Picture: File image

Published Apr 26, 2024


A Western Cape man who brutally killed his girlfriend in the presence of her child has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Esethu Cawe was convicted and sentenced in the Clanwilliam Regional Court on Friday.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the Western Cape said Cawe stabbed his girlfriend, Relebohile Ncephe, 19 times using two knives.

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said the knife broke “while butchering her in front of her minor child”.

The incident took place on August 22, 2022 at the victim’s home in Govan Mbeki Street, Khayelitsha, Clanwilliam.

Ncephe’s four-year-old daughter witnessed the attack.

The 26-year-old was also convicted for breach of a protection order that was issued on July 26, 2022 in terms of which he was prohibited from assaulting, threatening, or verbally abusing Ncephe, for which he received four years imprisonment.

Speaking about the murder incident, Ntabazalila said the court heard that Cawe repeatedly called the victim, after which she agreed to meet with him in the presence of her sister.

“Her four-year-old daughter also accompanied her. They started talking and the sister left to give them space to talk privately.

“During the discussion, the accused asked the deceased about her whereabouts the previous weekend, got angry when he did not get the answers he wanted, grabbed a knife, and stabbed her until the knife broke.

“He grabbed a bigger knife and stabbed her until that knife also broke.

“He left that knife on her body and was only taken out during a post-mortem. This repeated stabbing happened in front of her four-year-old child who ran outside screaming.”

The NPA said Cawe wanted to enter into a plea and sentence agreement, with a proposed 18-year sentence offer from the accused and his legal team.

“The State rejected the offer based on the severity of the case and its long-term traumatising impact on the deceased’s minor child.

“The State believed the victim’s death was a result of extreme violence and physical abuse.”

The court also heard that the stabbing happened four days after a protection order against Cawe was extended and was to be confirmed on September 8, 2022.

Western Cape Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Nicolette Bell lauded the investigation and particularly the prosecution team who rejected an offer that was inconsiderate to the gruesome crime the accused committed, the victim, her minor child, and the rest of her family.

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