Man Found Guilty Of Sledgehammer Murder

A wealthy husband was given a life sentence today after being found guilty of "savagely'' murdering his wife using a sledgehammer and a knife while his children slept in the same room.

IT consultant George Kibuuka, 48, launched the "truly terrible killing'' as his estranged wife Margaret was asleep in the family home in Southampton, Hampshire.

He then stabbed himself in the abdomen and took organophosphate pesticide, but was found by paramedics and survived.

Kibuuka had denied murder and administering a stupefying drug to three of his children so he could carry out the attack but was found guilty of all four charges by a jury at Winchester Crown Court.

The judge, Mr Justice Royce, sentenced Kibuuka to life imprisonment and ordered him to serve a minimum of 16 years.

He told Kibuuka that the "cold and calculated'' murder had been "a terrible, savage killing of an intelligent, gentle and loving mother''.

The trial heard that Kibuuka admitted the killing but his defence claimed that it was because of diminished responsibility as he was suffering from an abnormality of mind.

The jury was told that Kibuuka had consulted a witch doctor in his home country of Uganda in the months before the killing.

His defence team also claimed that he had been sexually abused as a child which led to him developing a personality disorder.

Part-time carer Mrs Kibuuka, 40, had filed for divorce, claiming her husband had been violent towards her, but Kibuuka did not accept the marriage was over and did not want to lose his considerable assets, the court was told.

The mother-of-four had gone to the police to complain about her husband's violence and emotional abuse in the weeks before her death in November last year.

She even told a neighbour she slept with a knife under her pillow because she was scared of Kibuuka, who she described as domineering and unpredictable, the jury heard.

Nigel Lickley QC, prosecuting, said that Kibuuka earned £90,000 a year from his job and he was well thought of. He owned four houses as well as land in his native Uganda.

The couple had married in Uganda in 1987 and moved to the UK in 1990, but Kibuuka had affairs with other women, including Mrs Kibuuka's two sisters and he fathered two children with one of them.

Tension had been building in the family home over the months as Mrs Kibuuka moved on with her life and considered a university course while Kibuuka worried he would lose money because of the split, Mr Lickley told the jury.

The barrister said that on November 7 last year, Kibuuka put sleeping tablets into the food and drink of the children and in the early hours of the next day he woke up and went to his wife's bedroom with the sledgehammer in darkness.

That day he had also bought the knife he used in the killing, the court heard.

He told officers his intention was to break his wife's legs so she would be dependent on him and stop the divorce.

Mr Lickley said:

"He told officers he struck at what he believed were his wife's legs but he could not see what he was doing.

"He turned on the light and he realised he had hit his wife's head by mistake. He said it was an ugly image.

"He told police he believed she was dead but in order to 'minimise her pain' he went to his bedroom, selected the knife, returned and cut his wife's throat.''

He then picked up the still-sleeping child and put the youngster in his bed.

The children, two of which were asleep in the same room, awoke the next day to see their mother dead in a pool of blood and they thought their father had also died.

Mr Lickley said:

"The children on that Sunday morning having found that scene wandered out into the street and found a neighbour. They thought their parents had been killed by an intruder or burglar.''

The police were called and Kibuuka, who was very ill, was taken to hospital where he was kept in intensive care for several weeks, the barrister explained.

Investigations found that he had transferred money to family, including one sum of #40,000, in the weeks before the killing.

An examination of the family computer found that Kibuuka had put a surveillance program on the machine to monitor what his wife used it for.

Key words that would trigger a response from the program, so Kibuuka could see activity, were sex, love and divorce, Mr Lickley said.

He told the jury the attack was murder and carefully planned.

He said:

"The killing of Mrs Kibuuka was focused, hence the severe and hard blows to her head with a sledgehammer and the deliberate cutting of her throat.''

Nigel Pascoe QC, defending, said in a brief address to the jury:

"At the time of this truly terrible killing, the killer was a severely disturbed man.''