By DOROTHY MARK
A FORMER university lecturer who caused the death of his wife by “inflicting severe injuries on her” has been sentenced to 16 years in jail.
Samuel Roth, pictured, from Wara-Bukapena village in Mul-Baiyer district of Western Highlands, was a lecturer in the Department of PNG Studies and International Relations at the Divine Word University in January 2015, aged 35, when he beat up his late wife Lenneth Rus, 30, with a leather belt.
Justice David Cannings imposed the sentence in the National Court in Madang after considering Roth’s plea for leniency and expression of remorse. Roth in a statement to the court apologised to Rus’ family, saying “I did not think a small domestic dispute would end her life. I know they miss her and I miss her too, very much.”
Roth had earlier been charged with murder but was convicted on a manslaughter charge “due to the absence of intention to do grievous bodily harm”.
Justice Cannings said a pre-sentence report showed that Rus’ family were still struggling to cope with her death.
“They do not forgive (Roth) for what he did and they have refused compensation and have expressed no desire to reconcile with him. They want to see him thoroughly punished.”
The court heard that Roth married Rus, a student at the university, in 2011. They lived in a staff accommodation on campus. Rus went to her family in Mt Hagen and returned early on Jan 11, 2015.
Roth was angry because she did not answer his calls and assaulted her.
“It was proven that (Roth) hit (Rus) with a leather belt, and that by other means he assaulted and injured her severely. He inflicted blunt trauma on her back with considerable force.”
Roth took her to the Modion Hospital where she was treated for her injuries and discharged.
The next morning, Roth took Rus back to the hospital after finding her unconscious and lying on the bedroom floor. But she was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.
Roth told the court that she had died of a drug overdose. But Justice Canning rejected this after considering a joint post-mortem report and oral testimony by two senior doctors at Modilon hospital Dr Vincent Atua and Dr Juith Gawk.
They said the cause of her death was hypoxia or lack of oxygen resulting from a bilateral lung contusion.
He ordered that four months, three weeks and two days be deducted from the jail term for time already spent in jail.
Outside court, Rus’ aunt Regina Ropra on behalf of her family thanked the court for giving the justice Rus deserved and the peace the family had longed for.
By DOROTHY MARK