A KwaZulu-Natal man was handed a 20-year jail sentence for the murder of his five-months pregnant girlfriend in December.

Lungani Gqwaru, 28, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment in the Durban high court on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to murdering his girlfriend, Nokuphiwa Magwaza, 24, who was 22 weeks pregnant, in December 2020.

In a statement regional spokesperson for the director of public prosecutions in KwaZulu-Natal, Natasha Kara, said Gqwaru and Magwaza were in a relationship and lived in the Sakhamkhanya area near KwaDukuza.

“At some point, before the incident in December 2020, he suspected her of cheating on him. On the day, he went to visit her at her home and after some time they went for a walk together. Gqwaru then took her to a spot where he fatally assaulted her. He fled the scene.”

Kara further said Gqwaru was accosted by the community after an eyewitness, who knows him, saw him with Magwaza just before her death.

“When Magwaza’s body was found, the witness told the community what he had seen. Community members then accosted him and called the police”.

According to Kara, Gqwaru initially pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea.

“In handing down sentence, the presiding officer found substantial and compelling circumstances to deviate from the minimum sentence of life imprisonment. These circumstances included Gqwaru’s age, that he had pleaded guilty, and that the murder was a crime of passion.”