Woman gets 25 years for murder

A 28-year-old woman from Tari, Hela Province was sentenced to 25 years in prison today after she was found guilty of a revenge attack and cold blooded killing back in 2013 at Gordon.

Cathleen Philip was given 25 years imprisonment for killing Emily Bire, the first wife of her estranged husband in the full view of the public and in the presence of the deceased’s two young children.  Husband’s name was not mentioned during the sentencing today.

Justice Sir Kina Bona in sentencing Philip said willful murder attracts either death penalty or life imprisonment however the element of provocation was taken into account in the sentence.

Court was told that on that morning of Nov 5, 2013, the deceased told Philip that she and her husband will not be paying her compensation adding she will give birth to a bastard. Philip was four months pregnant at the time from the deceased’s husband when she attacked her.    

These comments from the deceased provoked Philip to stab her multiple times in the neck, shoulder, back and chest using a kitchen knife while the deceased’s son looked helplessly. She also cut his baby sister’s nose in the process.

Philip’s revenge stems from a previous incident when she lost three fingers in a fight with the deceased. A compensation payment of K10,000 was ordered by the lower court against the deceased. That payment was never made. Instead, Philip was told to go and live with the deceased and her estranged husband.

Sir Kina said Philip went through a tough life and also suffered from the deceased and her estranged husband as an uneducated young woman who had no friends.

The son of the deceased was also brought to court earlier as a witness and recalled that event and give evidence of his mother’s cold blooded murder in the eyes of the public.

The judge said the son should not be allowed to seek revenge or hate another person despite willful murder being a very serious crime.

Sir Kina said the deceased was unarmed and had her second baby in her hands at the time and was helpless.

A total of K88,000 was paid in compensation to the family of the deceased, K18,000 from that amount was paid by Philip’s family while her estranged husband paid K70,000.




Sally Pokiton