Husband’s chilling murder plot unearthed as wife’s body is discovered buried under bathtub


High Court delivers justice in heartbreaking case of domestic violence

In a harrowing case that exposed the dark underbelly of domestic abuse, a man from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife.

Yibanathi MacGyver Ndema, 45, was handed the severe sentence by the high court in Mthatha on Wednesday for the heinous crime committed in July 2019. Ndema killed his wife, Noluvuyo Nonkwelo, 36, and callously buried her beneath a bath tub in the couple’s home.

According to Luxolo Tyali, spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, Ndema deceitfully reported his wife as a missing person to the police on July 3, 2019, despite knowing the truth about her fate. The court proceedings revealed a disturbing pattern of domestic abuse within the marriage. Ndema was convicted of assaulting his wife on multiple occasions, with incidents occurring in September 2018, January 2019, and June 27, 2019. The assaults involved the use of a stick, clenched fists, open hands, burning with hot water, and pulling her hair.

The sentencing, delivered by Judge Buyiswa Majiki, also addressed the emotional impact on the couple’s children. Majiki emphasized the need for the children to continue receiving trauma counselling as they had been deeply traumatized by the shocking murder of their mother at the hands of their father, someone they had once trusted and loved.

The arrest of Ndema took place in August 2021, following the discovery of Nonkwelo’s remains buried beneath a bath tub in the shared bathroom of their residence. The couple’s children had alerted their grandparents to the suspicious repositioning of the bath tub since their mother’s disappearance. Throughout the trial, Ndema pleaded not guilty and attempted to distance himself from a confession he had previously made to the police, where he admitted to strangling his wife due to her alleged extramarital affair. This necessitated a trial-within-a-trial, with the court ultimately admitting the confession as evidence.

This tragic case serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of domestic violence and the urgent need for society to address this pervasive issue. The court’s decision to hand down a life sentence reflects the gravity of the crime committed by Ndema. The hope is that this verdict will provide some solace to the grieving family and send a strong message that such acts of violence will not be tolerated.

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