16 June 2017

Namibia: Woman Claims Self-Defence in Killing of Ex

Werner Menges — A woman accused of the gun murder of her former boyfriend is claiming she was defending herself from an assault when she fired the fatal shot.

The defence on which the 32-year-old Anthea Arnold is relying was revealed in the Windhoek Regional Court this week, when she went on trial for a second time on a charge of murder dating from May 2011.

Arnold denied guilt when she was asked to plead on the charge at the start of her retrial before magistrate Ileni Velikoshi on Wednesday.

The state alleges that she murdered her former boyfriend, Michael Breder (52), in a car in Windhoek's Southern Industrial Area during the night of 14 to 15 May 2011.

Arnold first went on trial in the Windhoek Regional Court in November 2013, when she also denied guilt. After numerous postponements, one of which as a result of the withdrawal of her defence lawyer, Arnold failed to appear in court in June last year, and an arrest warrant was issued.

She was eventually arrested in January this year. With her next court appearance, also in January, Arnold said she had fled to Zambia before she was rearrested.

She has been held in police custody ever since.

In an autopsy report that became part of the evidence in Arnold's second trial this week, state pathologist Dr Yury Vasin recorded that Breder was shot in the back from a distance of less than 15 centimetres. The bullet that struck him passed though his spinal column, aorta and heart.

Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji did not inform the magistrate of Arnold's defence to the charge after she pleaded. However, during the testimony of the state's first two witnesses, he told them that according to Arnold, she was acting in self-defence when she shot Breder.

Siyomunji said Arnold had gone to Breder's house after he invited her for a braai with his friends. However, she found him alone, and he locked the gate to his yard after she had entered, Siyomunji said.

Arnold claims that Breder was drinking and aggressive, and that he told her to sit in his car in his yard with him. She alleges that while he was sitting in one of the front seats, playing loud music, she was seated in the back, and she noticed he had a gun.

According to Arnold, she managed to grab the gun from Breder when he assaulted her, and she then shot him once, Siyomunji said.

A police officer who investigated the case, detective sergeant Raymond Khoeseb, testified that when he visited the scene where the incident had happened on the morning of 15 May 2011, he saw a handwritten note lying on a table in Breder's house.

When he confronted Arnold with the note, she chose to remain silent, Khoeseb said.

The note starts off, in English: "I did it because he infected me [... ] and feels nothing about it."

In German, it then continues: "My darling I am sorry but I cannot any more. Love your wife." After a drawing of a heart and three Xes, the note ends in English again: "Till we meet again". The trial is scheduled to continue on 13 July.

Public prosecutor Erastus Hatutale is representing the state.

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