Court condemns husband for attempting to murder pregnant wife
Supreme Court Justice, Mata Keli Tuatagaloa, has condemned the behaviour of a man from Savai’i, who repeatedly assaulted his pregnant wife, while she was holding a child and bleeding profusely from head injuries.
Justice Tuatagaloa questioned how 28-year-old, Lua’ipou Fidow, of Fogapoa, showed no pity on his wife when he repeatedly punched her in front of their children.
In addition, Justice Tuatagaloa made the unemployed father look at the pictures of the injuries sustained by his wife after the gruesome assault. The victim's outer ear was torn, she sustained a laceration that required seven stitches on the right of her head and swollen face.
Fidow shed tears when he was shown the pictures.
The Court heard that alcohol was involved. He became angry when his wife had asked him and his friends if they could drink at the billiard salon nearby so she could make the bed for the kids.
It was 1 o’clock on the morning of 27th June 2019 when the defendant yelled at his wife, telling her: "Tonight you will die".
He eventually took a machete and struck the 29-year-old woman from behind while she was hanging the mosquito net used to put their children to sleep.
Fidow pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of his 29-year-old wife, three counts of being armed with a dangerous weapon and one count of threatening words.
He has been sentenced to 8 years and 8 months for his offending by Justice Tuatagaloa.
“She had asked you if you could go to the billiard table so she can put the children to sleep,” said Justice Tuatagaloa.
“If this is the attitude from men that they do not want to be told by their wives or have this mindset that they own their wives then I do not accept that.
“We women are not safe around you men. If you don’t change your mindset then this will continue to occur in families, villages and community and it defeats the purpose of raising awareness to prevent violence against women and children.”
Justice Tuatagaloa made it clear to Fidow that it is the Court’s responsibility to protect women and children from such violence that he had perpetrated.
She assured him that a custodial sentence is appropriate for his offending.
Fidow was queried if he had grown up in Fogapoa, Savai'i, all his life. He said yes.
He was reminded by the Judge if he understands the Samoan saying that the sister is the pupil of her brother’s eye.
Considering this and the fact that he was brought up in the village, Justice Tuatagaloa asked the defendant how he would feel if his sister was beaten up by another man the way he did to the victim.
In response, Fidow said he would be angry if it was his sister.
“That is why I don’t understand men that beat up other women,” she said.
“If you want your own sisters to be protected from such violence you should do the same with your wife to protect her..."
“You had the hammer taken away from you and the others tried to stop you yet you still went back with a machete and committed the offence while she was trying to put your children to sleep – the same children that you say you love.”
The Court heard that the attack on the woman would have been fatal if her daughter had not called out to her “mommy the knife” in which she turned around and saw Fidow striking.
The machete landed on the right side of her head causing her to bleed profusely.
She also lost the top part of her ear.
Despite the woman being pregnant and already bleeding from the head injuries, Fidow repeatedly punched her on the face whilst she was holding on their 2 year-old child.
In addition, he grabbed on to a brick in attempt to hit her with it but she ran away, trying to escape carrying the baby with her.
She later fell on the ground unconscious as she fled to find help.
Speaking about the victim of the offending, Justice Tuatagaloa said it is unclear from prosecution where the woman is.
Police had tried to locate her with her family from Eva but referred them to Fogapoa.
When police sought to find her in Fogapoa, she was not there and the family did not know where she is.
In handing down her sentence, Justice Tuatagaloa took 13 years as a starting point.
She deducted time for Fidow’s guilty plea, no previous convictions and remorse.
The final imprisonment term is 8 years and 8 months.
After the proceedings, Fidow was comforted by his relatives outside Court as he continued to weep and asked where his wife was.
A relative told him to focus on serving his time in prison.