Congo national Lusaka sentenced to life in Fiji for killing Australian wife

Kiala Henri Lusaka escorted by the police officers to the remand centre after he was found guilty of murder at the High Court in Suva this week. Picture: RAMA

Kiala Henri Lusaka, the Congo national who was convicted earlier in the week of killing his Australian wife Jennifer Anne Downes at their rented-Service Street home in July 2019, was sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment by the High Court in Suva today.

High Court judge Justice Gihan Kulatunga said Ms Downes was killed on July 23 in an extremely cruel manner in her own home that should have been a place of safety, and also noted the presence of the children at the time.

He said Lusaka knew that what he did was wrong, and added he showed no remorse while Ms Downe’s family is suffering from trauma and grief.

The 42-year-old father of three will have to serve a minimum of 20 years before a pardon may be considered by the President.

Ms Downes – who at the time of her tragic death was the World Food Programme’s Pacific logistics and project officer based in Suva – died of asphyxia as a result of manual strangulation, according to post-mortem examination reports tendered as evidence in court.

Her body was found in a locked room by police, with two coins covering each eye.

More details in tomorrow’s edition of The Fiji Times.


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