Namibia: Keetmans Killer Gets Life Imprisonment

21 November 2019

A KEETMANSHOOP resident convicted of having robbed and murdered a pensioner at the //Kharas region town seven years ago has received a sentence of life imprisonment at the conclusion of his trial in the Windhoek High Court.

Jan Fredericks (30) targeted an elderly, vulnerable, defenceless and innocent person when he attacked the 64-year-old Alta Thirion in her house at Keetmanshoop on 6 November 2012, judge Nate Ndauendapo commented during Fredericks' sentencing on Tuesday.

Reminding Fredericks that he attacked Thirion by hitting her on the head with a wooden fence pole, judge Ndauendapo said she must have experienced profound pain. He added: "[Fredericks'] actions towards an elderly human being were simply beyond belief."

Judge Ndauendapo also remarked: "Violence against women, the most vulnerable members of our society, continues unabated. The courts are trying their level best to impose severe sentences to send a clear message that murderers will be dealt with severely."

The judge sentenced Fredericks, who has spent the past seven years in custody, to life imprisonment on a charge of murder, and a concurrent jail term of 15 years on a charge of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

The practical effect of the sentences is that Fredericks is facing a period of 25 years behind bars before he would be eligible to be considered for release on parole. Thirion was fatally injured when she was attacked in her house on 6 November 2012. She died in a hospital in Windhoek a day after the attack.

Fredericks denied guilt on charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances during his trial, which started in October 2015. Judge Ndauendapo found him guilty on both charges last month, though.

The evidence against Fredericks included a confession in which he told a magistrate in November 2012 that he struck Thirion three times on the head with a fence pole after she opened the door of her house, where he had knocked. He also said that he fled from the scene of the crime with a cellphone and laptop computer that he took from Thirion's house.

According to Fredericks, he entered Thirion's yard and attacked her after "this thought came into my mind I do not know from where" while he was sitting outside the house.

Other evidence on which the judge based Fredericks' conviction included testimony that he sold the laptop that he stole from Thirion's house for N$500, and that he also sold the cellphone that he took from the house.

Fredericks claimed he was working somewhere at Keetmanshoop on the day of the attack on Thirion. Judge Ndauendapo rejected his alibi as false, though, and commented that Fredericks had been evasive when he testified in his own defence, and that his testimony had been littered with contradictions and lies. Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji represented Fredericks during his trial. The state was represented by deputy prosecutor general Dominic Lisulo.

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