New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Murder and Rape Accused Denies Charge

Windhoek — Murder and rape accused Marius Thomas on Wednesday denied committing the crime of rape that he stands accused of.

He claims that he was in Keetmanshoop during the time the alleged rape took place and nowhere near Farm Gellap-Ost, the scene of the alleged crime. While he acknowledged killing Likius Ngesheyaa at the Farm Kaalvlakte in the Bethanie District during the night of February 25 to 26 2009, he denies the killing was intentional. Thomas who is testifying in his own defence after the State closed its case, told Judge Nate Ndauendapo that he and the deceased went to Keetmanshoop together to buy groceries and that Ngesheyaa, with whom he got a ride stayed in Keetmanshoop the whole day drinking.

He told Judge Ndauendapo that when he went to look for Ngesheyaa in the afternoon, he found him drinking and when he enquired as to when they were leaving, the deceased got angry and an argument ensued. They however left after a while and when he got onto the back of the pick-up truck he noticed that his groceries were not on it. This he said led to another argument between him and the deceased and they eventually went to the shop where he bought his groceries and then left for the farm where they both resided.

When they arrived at the farm, according to Thomas, Ngesheyaa wanted to drop him a few metres from his shack at the fence and he refused to get off there resulting in another argument where Ngesheyaa told him "you have no respect for elders and I will shoot you like a dog." He claimed Ngesheyaa was carrying a pistol when he picked him up early that morning. While Ngesheyaa would normally first drop him off, on that fateful night he first went to drop off a certain Eliakim and his girlfriend.

When they arrived back at his corrugated iron shack, the accused said, he took the box containing his groceries inside, while the deceased remained outside. When he got out he found Ngesheyaa trying to drink water from his tap, but could not open it and he assisted him by opening the tap for him. He then went back into the shack and after a while "I was standing with my back to the door and as I looked over my shoulder I thought I saw something shining in his hands," Thomas narrated.

"I immediately grabbed my pick handle that stood close to me with both hands and hit the accused once on his head," he testified. He said he kept on hitting the deceased, but could not recall how many times.

In a statement he made to a magistrate in Keetmanshoop the day after his arrest on the murder charge, Thomas said that he hit the deceased once on the head and again at the back of his skull and that when the accused fell to the ground he again hit him in the ribs.

Yesterday he said he could not remember hitting the deceased while he was lying on the ground. After the attack on Ngesheyaa, he took the keys of the vehicle and locked the deceased in the shack, "because I was afraid that if he regained consciousness he would come after me." He decided to drive to the Keetmanshoop Police Station to report the matter, but on the way there he changed his mind and decided instead to drive to his father at Gellap-Ost to inform him of what had happened, but that on the way there he lost control of the vehicle and it overturned.

He then proceeded on foot to Gellap-Ost where his father summoned the police from the residence of the farm manager. He said that the police arrived a short while later and they proceeded to where he had left Ngesheyaa and found him dead on arrival. He was arrested on the spot. He further testified that since he only wanted to tell the truth, he made a confession before the magistrate at Keetmanshoop the day following his arrest.

During cross-examination Deputy Prosecutor General Jack Eichab stressed the fact the accused did not summon help as he is trying to claim, but that since he knew he killed the deceased, he stole the vehicle that was in his care and wanted to leave the scene of his crime, but that the accident forced him to go and tell his father about the incident.

He said that Ngesheyaa had no weapon on him as claimed by Thomas, and that Thomas in fact ambushed the deceased when he killed him. Eichab also had serious doubts as to the claims of Thomas that he was nowhere near Gellap-Ost on the night of the rape.

Testimonies from his own father and stepmother say that they left Thomas at the residence of his father where he was tending to the goats, Eichab said. Thomas called his father a liar and said that he left Gellap-Ost with both his father and stepmother the morning of August 03, 2009 at 10h00.

Eichab then produced MTC printouts, which put Thomas in the vicinity of Gariganus, to which defence counsel, Advocate Monty Karuaihe, strenuously objected. Karuaihe objected to the State's inference that the printouts positively put Thomas at or near Gellap-Ost, since it was not definitively stated by the MTC witness that the Gariganus tower only covers Gariganus and Gellap-Ost and not Keetmanshoop itself.

While the complainant was adamant that it was he, Thomas, who violated her, he said that it could be possible that she mistook him for someone else. The Stated alleges that Thomas raped the 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 (bakkie) and N$2 700 in cash on the same day. Thomas is also charged with kidnapping after he allegedly forced the elderly woman into the pick-up and deprived her of her liberty until she managed to escape when he stopped to refuel at the One Stop Service Station in Keetmanshoop. The case was postponed to March 28 for submissions on the verdict and Thomas remains in custody.

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