5 December 2012

Namibia: Well Murders Trial to Continue in June 2013

THE trial of the two men accused of murdering two people whose skeletal remains were discovered in a disused well on a farm in the Hardap Region in July 2009 has been postponed to June next year.

A prosecution witness who claims to have seen an assault on the two men who were allegedly killed by Raynoldt (‘Jacky’) Windstaan and Johannes Eichab is set to continue testifying when the trial continues during the week from June 3 next year.

Windstaan (30) and Eichab (32) are charged with murdering Klaas Titus (42) and John McNab (39) in July 2005.

They denied guilt on the charges against them – two counts of murder and a count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, or attempting to do so – when their trial started before Judge Naomi Shivute in the High Court in Windhoek on November 6.

In the indictment setting out the charges against Windstaan and Eichab it is alleged that they assaulted Titus and McNab at Omamas, west of Kalkrand, during the weekend of July 16 to 18 2005.

It is further alleged that they then drove with Titus and McNab to the farm Good Hope, situated in the Schlip area, and threw the two men into a deep and isolated well from which they would not have been able to escape without assistance.

The police eventually found two human skeletons, alleged to be the remains of Titus and McNab, buried under rubble in the well at the end of July 2009.

Two witnesses have so far told Judge Shivute that they saw Windstaan and Eichab carrying out assaults on Titus and McNab at the time that the two men were last seen alive.

One of these witnesses, Pieter Kandetu, is due to continue with his testimony when the trial continues.

Both he and the other alleged eyewitness, Albertina Swartbooi, have however had their credibility questioned by the defence lawyers involved in the trial after they admitted in their testimony that they gave several untrue witness statements to police investigators before they eventually settled on the version which they related in court.

Kandetu’s explanation to the judge for his previous versions was that he was fearful at the time, as he did not know what would happen to himself if he told the truth at that stage.

He claimed that he was at Omamas when he saw Windstaan first assaulting Titus by striking him against the head with a tyre lever, and then stabbing McNab with a knife. Windstaan and Eichab later loaded Titus and McNab onto a bakkie and drove with them to farm Good Hope, Kandetu claimed.

He said he accompanied them to the farm, but was left at the entrance to the farm while Windstaan and Eichab went onto the farm with the two men.

Windstaan’s defence lawyer, Titus Mbaeva, has told Kandetu that according to Windstaan the alleged assaults at Omamas never happened, and Kandetu was also not present at the scene when he said the assaults took place.

Kandetu continued to claim that he had seen the assault on Titus and the stabbing of McNab.

Swartbooi also claimed that she eventually gave the police a correct statement about the events she claimed to have witnessed, because her memory of the events was bothering her.

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