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State to ask for life sentence for former cop found guilty of killing ex-girlfriend and lying to court

A former police officer who lied about how his ex-girlfriend was killed, has been found guilty of her murder. File Picture

A former police officer who lied about how his ex-girlfriend was killed, has been found guilty of her murder. File Picture

Published Sep 13, 2023


A former police officer who lied about how his ex-girlfriend was killed has been found guilty of her murder.

The Western Cape High Court ruled on Wednesday that Thandolwethu Faku failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt his claim that he had been robbed at gunpoint and that thugs had shot and killed his ex-lover, Wendy Papu.

He was also found guilty of assault and an attempt to defeat the administration of justice.

The State intends to ask for a life sentence for the accused when he is due to be sentenced next month.

According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila, Faku went to Papu's home in January 2018 at R106 Site B, Khayelitsha, where she, her older daughter, and the couple's three-month-old daughter were asleep.

"The couple got into an argument, and he took out his firearm and shot her in the head. He then locked her shack and left," he said.

The court heard how Papu did not die immediately, but lay in her shack, unable to move due to the bullet wound to her head.

"She was unable to help her younger daughter as she started crying while the accused boarded his black vehicle and drove off, leaving the deceased to die without providing any assistance to her and her daughters," State advocate Kepler Uys said.

Uys said Faku then covered up the murder by abandoning his vehicle, firearm, and phone near the Strandfontein Beach and opened a false hijacking case at the Mfuleni police station, claiming he was hijacked.

Faku further told the court that he had gone to drop off money at Papu's home and was accosted and robbed by two men. He said a gun was held against his head, and the men took him to Papu's home.

He said he was bundled into a car by one of the men while an accomplice shot Papu, with the men getting into his vehicle and driving off, adding that he was dropped off a distance away and managed to make his way to the police station. Faku's vehicle was found days after Papu's murder, but his cellphone and firearm were not.

Fifteen witnesses were called to testify during the trial on Faku's behalf, including nine police officers, a Metro Police officer, neighbours and relatives.

However, Ntabazalila said the provided evidence showed that the deceased was shot by someone inside the shack, as opposed to the accused’s version that she was shot by someone outside the shack.

"The eight-year-old daughter and the deceased’s mother provided evidence that showed previous cases of abuse of the deceased," he said.

Uys argued that the evidence is overwhelmingly sufficient to satisfy the court beyond a reasonable doubt that the State has established the guilt of the accused on all counts. He was convicted on all charges, and the Uys will ask the court to impose life imprisonment when sentencing proceedings resume on October 23, 2023.