A Tanna man has been remanded in custody for allegedly murdering his partner.

Police confirmed Sam Tapawa was charged with one count of intentional homicide, contrary to section 106 of the Penal Code Act [CAP 135].

According to reports, Tapawa allegedly killed his partner, Mary Rapua, then dug a hole and buried her near a coconut plantation at Etmat, Erakor – around 900 meters away from their house.

He concealed the grave with leaves and grass, and it was only discovered on Tuesday this week.

Daily Post visited the crime scene yesterday and was told it was likely Rapua was killed on Friday last week as that was the last time she was seen alive.

Relatives confirmed she left the house with Tapawa and his partner on Friday early in the morning to go to their garden at Etmat.

But an eyewitness who came passed the accused and the deceased on the same day alleged there were four them – Tapawa, the deceased, Tapawa’s younger brother and another man who was convicted for murdering a man some years back in Teouma.

Other witnesses confirmed that later that day Tapawa returned home by himself, carrying a few yams, knife, shovel, some cloths and an umbrella.

According to the reports, when he reached the house, he told the relatives that they had a fight in the garden and the deceased had fled.

Later, he went to the extent to tell other people the deceased had left him for another man.

But relatives of the victim said the suspect is a violent man and used to assault the victim in the past.

The deceased’s two sisters became worried about her disappearance over the days and they reported the matter to the chief.

The chief called the police and gave a report but it was not enough. The whole Tannese community in the area became anxious and decided to conduct their own search.

They followed the couple’s route to the garden and that was when they discovered the hidden grave.

They then called the police.

Police attended the crime scene, secured the area and transported the deceased to the hospital.

Eyewitnesses at the scene alleged there were stab wounds on the victim’s body. It is understood an autopsy will be performed shortly for court purposes.

Police also tracked Tapawa down and detained him.

It was alleged Tapawa left the house on Friday and did not return home until he was arrested at Erakor Bridge by the authorities on Tuesday this week.

Tapawa will stand trial for PI when the investigation completes in the next 14 days to commit the case up to the Supreme Court.

The late Rapua has a teenage son from a previous relationship.

Under section 106 of the Penal Code Act [CAP 135], the penalty for premediated homicide is life imprisonment. If the homicide is not premediated, the penalty is 20 years imprisonment.

In April this year, the court sentenced Bob Robert to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of 6-year-old Florence Iaruel.

Just this week an 18-year jail term was handed to Etienne John Samuel for murdering Year 10 Montmartre student, Aicha Maccoe.