12 February 2013

Namibia: Jahrs Testifies Against Thomas

Windhoek — A former co-worker of murder and rape accused, Marius Thomas, yesterday told Judge Nate Ndauendapo that he and Thomas were together the evening of August 03, 2009 at his place of work from between eight and ten until the next morning.

Thirty-three-year-old Fransiscus Jahrs explained to the court how Thomas came to him at the BP depot in Keetmanshoop where he worked as a security guard. "Thomas had N$2700 on him and told me that if I wanted we could drink together," he told Judge Ndauendapo. The witness further related how Thomas gave him some money to go and buy alcohol and they then proceeded to consume the alcohol on the premises. After he knocked off at six the next morning they went to the place where he was residing, he said.

According to him, Thomas then wanted to call his (Jahrs') sister who was in Tses to come to Keetmanshoop to collect money he owed her for maintenance of their children. He said when his sister arrived, Thomas gave them N$1 000 to go and buy food and a cellphone for him. "When we got to town, people started asking us where Thomas is and informed us that the police were looking for him urgently since he had apparently raped and robbed an elderly lady," he recalled.

According to Jahrs, he and his sister whom he identified as Anna Marie Jahrs then went back to the place where they had left Thomas and asked him if he was responsible for the crime. Thomas vehemently denied the allegation, he said. He also told the court that he himself put pressure on Thomas to come clean, but that Thomas just kept on denying that he had anything to do with what happened.

Later that afternoon, the witness testified, he received a call from his employers telling him that he was needed at work and that when he arrived there the police were waiting for him.

He said the police wanted to know if he knew Thomas and went on that after he answered in the affirmative, they enquired about Thomas' whereabouts.

He related to the court how he accompanied the police to where Thomas was and how he gave them the key to the backdoor of the residence. "They, the police, found Thomas inside the house where he was hiding behind some things he pushed around," Jahrs said. He told the court that when he entered the house he found that some of his furniture had been moved around and that some cupboards were stacked against the door.

According to him, the police removed Thomas from the house and left with him.

The State alleges that Thomas killed Likius Ngesheyaa at the Farm Kaalvlakte in the Bethanie District during the night of February 25 to 26 2009. He is also charged with robbery with aggravating circumstances for allegedly stealing a Ford pick-up truck (bakkie), or alternatively unlawful use of property.

The State further alleges that Thomas raped an elderly woman at Farm Gellap-Ost in the Keetmanshoop District and of robbing the complainant and her daughter of a Nissan 1400 pick-up truck and N$2 700 in cash during August 03, 2009 or alternatively the unlawful use of property with regard to the 1400 pick-up truck.

Thomas is also charged with kidnapping after he allegedly forced the elderly woman into the pick-up truck and deprived her of her liberty until she managed to escape when he stopped to refuel at the One Stop Service Station in Keetmanshoop. He is further charged with indecent assault for allegedly forcing the complainant to touch his genitals during the trip from Gellap-Ost where the incident is said to have taken place. Thomas denies all the charges against him.

During previous court hearings, the court was cleared of the media and others in attendance after a youthful witness, as well as the complainant indicated that they do not feel comfortable testifying in public. Deputy Prosecutor General Jack Eichab represents the State, while Advocate Monty Karuaihe is appearing on behalf of Thomas on instructions from the Legal Aid Directorate in the Ministry of Justice.

The case continues and Thomas remains in custody.

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