An abusive hotel barman who viciously stabbed his girlfriend to death a few days after she left him and vowed to get a protection order was yesterday sentenced in the High Court in Pretoria to life imprisonment.
In sentencing Koketso Marota, 27, of Mamelodi, for the November 2017 murder of Sheryl Kgopane, Acting Judge David Makgoba said the courts had to protect women and that the sentence should serve as a warning to other men who abused and killed their partners that severe sentences would be meted out.
Marota, a first-time offender from a good family, claimed he “accidentally” stabbed Kgopane in the neck during a struggle. She had taken a knife from her bra and had tried to stab him when he spurned her pleas for a reconciliation and tried to seduce him.
He claimed Kgopane was still alive when he left the room. He had phoned his sister and reported the incident to the police, but Kgopane was dead by the time they returned to the scene.
He insisted it was never his intention to kill the woman he loved and with whom he shared a child. He pleaded with her family to forgive him.
Marota’s family told a social worker he came from a stable family, was a good father, had never shown any violent tendencies and they believed Kgopane’s death was an accident.
They complained about being denied access to their grandchild, who now lived with Kgopane’s parents.
Her family insisted he had previously beaten her up so badly that she had to be hospitalised, was physically and emotionally abusive and harassed her at work after she left him.
They were still very angry and believed he had intentionally stabbed her twice in the neck and then sat watching her bleed to death.
The investigating officer reported that Kgopane was found half naked with stab wounds to her neck and pieces of cigarettes and ash on her “private parts”.