14 September 2017

Namibia: Witness Says Murder Accused Was Injured

The man accused of having raped and murdered a teenage girl at Henties Bay in May 2014 was seen with fresh scratch injuries after the night during which the crimes he is charged with were committed.

One of the prosecution's witnesses in the trial of Jandre Jacques de Klerk (27) testified in the Windhoek High Court yesterday that she noticed scratches on his forearms and neck during the early morning hours of 4 May 2014, after she had let him into the house where she and his mother had spent the night at Henties Bay.

The witness, Mariana Maasdorp, told judge Alfred Siboleka she and De Klerk's mother were friends and lived in the same house at the coastal town at that time, and had spent the night of 3 to 4 May 2014 at the house of a mutual friend.

During the evening of 3 May 2014, they gave De Klerk N$100 and sent him to buy a bottle of wine for them, but he returned only between 04h00 and 06h00 the next morning, Maasdorp said, and she then saw the fresh scratch marks on his body.

De Klerk's explanation for the marks was that he had been involved in a fight with a girl at a bar and that she inflicted the scratches, Maasdorp testified.

A 13-year-old girl, Rachel Vanessa Boois, was allegedly raped and murdered at Henties Bay during the night in question. Her half-naked body was found in a partly built house at the town on 4 May 2014.

De Klerk is facing two counts of rape, a charge of murder, and a count of violating a dead human body in connection with the circumstances of Boois' death. He denied guilt on all of the charges when his trial began on Monday, but admitted through his defence lawyer, Titus Mbaeva, that he had intercourse with Boois prior to her death, on a date he could not remember.

Mbaeva also told the judge De Klerk was saying he did not know Boois was underage, or that it was a crime to have intercourse with a minor.

Maasdorp testified that she knew Boois well, since she was a friend of her oldest daughter. Boois was still a child, in body as well as in spirit, at the time she was killed, Maasdorp said. She was physically small and slightly built, and anybody would have been able to see that she was still a child, the witness stated.

The medical doctor who carried out an autopsy on Boois, Dr Mamadi Guriras, also testified on Tuesday that Boois was pre-pubescent and physically small, weighing 32 kilogrammes and being 1,55 metres tall.

Dr Guriras told the court she concluded that Boois had been suffocated, and that the joint between her neck and skull was dislocated after she had died.

She also observed several bruises on Boois' face and head, with those typically caused by blunt force trauma, and recorded that Boois had been bleeding from the nose and private parts.

Maasdorp testified that after she, De Klerk's mother, and De Klerk had returned home on the morning of 4 May 2014, they heard around noon that Boois had been murdered.

Reacting to the shock news, De Klerk made a remark that he could not believe somebody had done that to such a small child, and that he did not know what he would have done if it had been his sister who had been killed, she said. De Klerk and Boois knew each other, and she had seen them in conversation at her house during the day before Boois was killed, Maasdorp also said.

De Klerk was arrested and charged in connection with Boois' death in February 2015. At that stage, he had been in custody on another charge since October 2014.

The trial is continuing.

Deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef is representing the state.

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