Ratu Savenaca Tamanilele says they have forgiven convicted murderer, Timoci Lolohea, for killing their daughter, Elenoa Dicovi.
He made the statement after Lolohea was handed a mandatory life sentence by judge, Justice Salesi Temo, in the High Court in Suva yesterday.
“We have forgiven Lolohea for what he did because we are taught in our religion to forgive and forget,” the 63-year-old farmer, originally from Udu Point, now residing at Naqai Settlement in Labasa, said. Ratu Savenaca is a member of the Methodist Church.
Elenoa was in a defacto relationship with Lolohea.
Ratu Savenaca said he and wife, Adi Laisa Tamai, 55, had felt a sense of peace and calm. He said the sentence had brought a closure to their lives.
“We feel satisfied that everything has come to an end.
“It has been more than a year we have been looking after Elenoa’s daughter, Tokasa Tupou,” Mr Tamanilele said.
“She left her (Tokasa) with us in February last year to travel to Suva. Two weeks after that she was murdered at Nasilivata Road in Nadera.
“We do not know what happened inside that house.
“Lolohea is my sister’s husband and we sent our daughter to stay with them.
“Elenoa was the sixth youngest child of nine children in the family and last year she was 24-years-old,” Mrs Tamai said.
“Memories of our daughter only flashed back when I saw her three-year-old daughter.
“We had explained to her during Elenoa’s funeral that her mother had passed away and she would see her no more.”
Mr Tamanilele said Tokasa was a matured child understanding who her mother was and that she did not exist any more.
“Last year in December we filed Tokasa’s child custody in court and her father Lolohea agreed for us to take care of her,” Mr Tamanilele said.
“It was like he knew what will happen.
“He was married to my younger sister and had four children.
“Now we just want to focus on Tokasa’s life and help her grow up and have all the love and care.”
While the grandparents were talking, Tokasa interrupted, taking her mother’s photo.
As she held onto it she told her friends gathered around her in iTaukei that her mother had died.
She kept repeating it until her grandmother hugged her and told her that they loved her and they were going to be there for her.
Lolohea’s family said in a statement: “As a family, we had accepted and sought forgiveness from each other after the incident happened in March 2017.”
“We can’t really say much now because the sentence has been passed. It won’t help the family, it won’t bring our father back or lessen his sentence.”