Windhoek — Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg on Monday reserved his judgement in the murder trial of Rhyno Richardo du Preez, 36, and his co-accused and former lover Rachel Elizabeth Rittmann, 48, after hearing oral arguments by the state and defence lawyers.
According to the state, Du Preez and Rachel conspired to kill her husband, 35-year-old Rudolph Henry Rittmann.
It is alleged that they stabbed Rittmann to death at his home in Gobabis, and then drove the body in his vehicle to a secluded spot in the veldt, where they set the vehicle alight with the body of their victim inside.
Du Preez already admitted to all the allegations in the charge sheet and said he committed the deed because he was madly in love with Rachel and was prepared to do whatever she wanted for her to be happy, Rachel denied guilt and said she only went along with Du Preez out of fear.
They are on trial for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
The prosecutor Marthino Olivier told the court yesterday that the murder was planned to the finest detail by both accused and that Rachel was always an integral part of the plan to murder her husband for his pension and insurance money.
"The murder of the deceased was meticulously planned by both the accused persons. They planned and executed the murder on the deceased with the main motive of money. The plan was already discussed and perfected from as early as June 2013 and was already discussed in December 2012, but had to be accelerated due to the fraud charges the two accused faced in Okahandja in May 2013," Olivier told the judge.
He went on to say that the crime was one of greed, as it was clear from the evidence adduced before court that the deceased did not stand in the way of the accused persons' relationship.
According to Olivier, both accused planned to benefit from the inheritance of the deceased and Du Preez travelled to Gobabis with the sole intention of murdering the deceased and Rachel actively participated in the murder.
He accordingly asked the judge to convict them on all charges.
Illeni Gebhardt, appearing for Du Preez on instructions of legal aid, asked the judge to take into consideration another motive for the murder which she said was love.
According to Gebhardt, her client killed the deceased because he was manipulated by a woman with whom he was madly in love.
"My client's motive for killing the deceased was not only for the monetary benefit, but because he believed that once the deceased is out of the way he will be free to continue his relationship with the woman he deeply loved and whom he believed loved him too," she told the judge.
She further said that not only was her client under the spell of Rachel, but the deceased too and she manipulated the two men to her will.
According to Gebhardt, the deceased consented to her suggestion that he change his will without so much as a whimper and she also convinced Du Preez that killing the deceased will leave the way open for them to freely have a relationship.
Johan van Vuuren, appearing for Rachel, told the court that his client's evidence that she "complied" with the instructions of Du Preez out of fear could reasonably possibly be true and she must be given the benefit of the doubt.He said that there is ample evidence that Du Preez was aggressive towards Rachel and that he even threatened to kill her, the deceased and their child.