5 December 2018

Namibia: Witness Says Cheating Wife Put Murder On the Menu

The wife of a man who was killed at Gobabis five years ago suggested a plan to murder him while having drinks and a meal with her lover and his brother at a popular restaurant in Windhoek, according to testimony heard in the High Court this week.

It was during a visit to a Spur restaurant in Windhoek in June 2013 that Rachel Rittmann first asked him if he could keep a secret, and then told him the secret was a plan to kill her husband, Egenhardt du Preez testified before judge Christie Liebenberg on Monday and yesterday.

Du Preez was the state's first witness in the trial in which one of his brothers, Rhyno du Preez, and Rittmann, who was involved in an extramarital affair with Rhyno du Preez, are charged with counts of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

The two accused denied guilt on all of the charges when their trial began on Monday.

The state is alleging that Rittmann (48) and Rhyno du Preez (34) plotted to murder Rittmann's husband, Rudolph Rittmann (34), and carried out their plan in the Rittmanns' house at Gobabis on 23 August 2013 by overpowering the sleeping Rudolph and stabbing him to death.

Having killed Rudolph Rittmann, the two accused allegedly stole a cellphone, wallet, bank cards and an Isuzu bakkie from him. The state is alleging that the bakkie was used to transport his body out of Gobabis, and that the vehicle - with his body inside - was set on fire next to the road between Gobabis and Windhoek in an attempt to hinder the police's investigation of his death.

Rittmann and Rhyno du Preez were arrested in Windhoek about a week after the killing.

Du Preez told the court he, Rhyno and Rachel Rittmann had ordered food and drinks at the Spur they were visiting in June 2013 when Rittmann first asked him if he still had a dream to go to London, and then asked if he could keep a secret.

After she had told him about a plan to murder her husband, she asked if he would assist in putting the plan into operation, he said.

"I'm game," was his answer to her, Du Preez said.

He also testified that Rittmann explained to him she would provide him and Rhyno with a key to the Rittmanns' house. Her plan was that her and her husband's daughter would be left with relatives while she and Rudolph would go out for some drinks, and that the two brothers were to sneak into the house in the meantime.

On her and Rudolph's return home, the two brothers were supposed to surprise him with an attack, and then should have tortured him and done with him whatever they wanted, Rittmann also said, according to Du Preez. Having killed Rudolph, they were to take his body to the Kappsfarm area east of Windhoek, where they were supposed to push the vehicle off the road and set it alight, Du Preez said Rittmann also told him.

For his help in carrying out the plan, Rittmann said she would buy him a flight ticket to London or get him a house, Du Preez said.

Rittmann did most of the talking at the Spur, but his brother also talked about strangling Rudolph as a quick and quiet way of killing someone, Du Preez said.

The plan as aired by Rittmann was not executed, though, Du Preez testified. He said about two weeks after the Spur visit, Rhyno contacted him and informed him the plan was off, since Rudolph Rittmann had found out about his wife's relationship with Rhyno.

In their cross-examination, defence lawyers Braam Cupido, representing Rhyno du Preez, and Johan van Vuuren, representing Rittmann, did not dispute the testimony about a meeting having taken place at the Spur.

However, Van Vuuren told Du Preez that Rittmann was denying that a discussion about a plan to murder her husband had taken place. She would testify the only discussion of that kind was when Rhyno said to the witness she wanted to kill her husband, upon which she said it was Rhyno who wanted to kill her husband, Van Vuuren said.

The trial is continuing.

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