Family of murder victim Malaika Mukantere thought they were safe in Austalia

(News Com.au) THE father of a murdered refugee says he thought Australia would be safer than Burundi.

Etienne Murekezi told the Supreme Court in Adelaide he’s had « flashbacks » to his time in Africa since his son-in-law, Luka Kageregere, murdered daughter Malaika Mukantere in 2009.

« What can help me now he has killed our precious child, » Mr Murekezi wrote in a statement read to the court today.

« Coming to Australia we thought we would be safe. »

His 21-year-old daughter’s naked, burned body was found in the couple’s torched flat early on New Year’s day after her husband escaped the blaze unscathed with their toddler son.

Kageregere, 48, was later found guilty of murdering his wife by knocking her out and setting fire to their flat.

Today, Mr Murekezi’s victim impact statement was read during sentencing submissions, with a translator explaining the content to Kageregere.

Mr Murekezi said that since his daughter was left to die in her burning flat he has been having « flashbacks to what happened in Africa ».

He said his family settled in Melbourne after years in African refugee camps but were forced to move again after the murder because they feared retaliation from Kageregere’s friends.

« The Hutu community supported Luka and they blame my family for Luka being arrested, » he said.

But Kageregere’s lawyer Greg Mead says his client apparently has no support.

Mr Mead says Kageregere faces 20 years of isolation in jail, with no visitors, no phone calls and very poor English because of his inability to learn.

Kageregere left school after only two years « because he was not very intelligent », Mr Mead said.

Mr Mead asked for a non-parole period to be set at the lower end of the scale because prison would be harsher on an isolated person from Burundi than those who can speak English and who get visits from friends or family.
Justice Christopher Kourakis will sentence Kageregere at a date to be set.

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