14 February 2017

Namibia: Alleged Strangler Denies Rape, Murder Charges

A MAN facing a string of charges related to the alleged rape of three women at Walvis Bay, and the murder of one of the women, denied guilt on all counts in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two charges of housebreaking with intent to rape and rape, charges of rape and attempted rape, and lastly a count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice or attempting to do so, Piet Nakanene (31) pleaded not guilty on all counts before judge Dinnah Usiku.

His lawyer, Mpokiseng Dube, told the judge that Nakanene opted to remain silent after giving his plea, and that his defence would become clear during the trial.

In the indictment, the state is alleging that Nakanene broke into the room of a woman at Kuisebmond, Walvis Bay, during the early morning hours of 3 September 2006, and attempted to rape the woman.

The other charges date from April 2013, October 2013, and March 2014.

The prosecution alleges that during the early morning hours of 6 April 2013, at Kuisebmond, Nakanene kicked open the door to the room of a woman living on the same premises as he, entered the room and raped her.

He also tried to kill her by strangling her with his hands, it is charged.

In a third incident, on 15 October 2013, Nakanene allegedly followed a woman from the place where he was staying at Kuisebmond, pushed the woman to the ground when he caught up with her, strangled her with his hands, and tried to rape her.

Nakanene is also accused of having raped and murdered 29-year-old Benedine Letesia Baumgarten at Kuisebmond during the night of 12-13 March 2014. In the indictment, the state alleges that Nakanene raped Baumgarten in the room where he was staying, and that he murdered her by strangling her with his hands.

After that, he allegedly removed her body from his room, and dumped the body a distance from his room.

He is further accused of having tried to conceal or destroy evidence, and of frustrating the investigation into the death and suspected rape of Baumgarten by having raked the yard of the house where he lived and by getting rid of the shoes he had been wearing during the night of the rape-murder.

Baumgarten's body was found on 13 March 2014 between dunes along the eastern entrance to Walvis Bay, one of the prosecution's first witnesses in the trial testified yesterday.

The court was also told that tracks found at the scene where the body was dumped led to a wheelie bin at a house at Kuisebmond. The bin had been taken from another house in the area earlier that morning. The trial continues.

Deputy prosecutor general Innocentia Nyoni is representing the state. Nakanene is being held in custody.

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