Details emerge in Mariental murder case

Home Crime and Courts Details emerge in Mariental murder case


After a hiatus of about one year, murder accused Charles Michael Swartz returned to court this week for the continuation of his trial.

Swartz, who was 19 years old when he allegedly killed his 15-year-old pregnant girlfriend in 2012, denied guilt on all charges he faces in the High Court before Judge Alfred Siboleka when his trial started in March last year.

In a plea explanation his State-funded lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji, submitted to the court that Swartz admitted he has stabbed the deceased and that she died as a result of the stab wounds. He, however, claims he acted in self-defence.

According to him the deceased attacked him first with the intention to injure him and he stabbed her to stop her from killing him.

He also denied he assaulted the deceased by kicking her several times on her body and beating her with steel wire all over her back. He further denied he “ever, ever” assaulted the grandmother of the deceased (complainant in the third count) by threatening to kill her.

According to the State, Swartz killed his girlfriend, Sara van der Westhuizen, a minor, who at the time was pregnant with his child on October 3, 2012 in Mariental.

During the trial the judge so far heard evidence from a police officer, who said he found Swartz in a room at the latter’s mother’s residence with a nylon rope and suicide letter in his pockets.

A police officer attached to the Woman and Child Protection Unit also testified that she warned Swartz on the day of the incident to stay away from the deceased.

A 14-year-old girl told the court she was at the house that evening when Swartz arrived and called the deceased out. When the victim returned her lips were bleeding and she was followed by Swartz, who stabbed her in the back.

The grandmother of the deceased testified that the her grandchild was bleeding from the mouth when she met her and Swartz in a hallway in their house and when she asked Swartz why he stabbed the deceased, he also threatened to stab her.

He then stabbed the deceased once in the neck, after which Swartz ran away, Anna Maria Baisako told the court.

On Wednesday Clara Swartz, an aunt of the accused, testified that Swartz sent her a text on that fateful day and asked her if the deceased is dead.

She said she informed him the deceased was still alive and after some more text exchanges he told her where he was and she went to fetch him.

During cross-examination Siyomunji told the witness that his instruction are that no exchange of text messages occurred between the accused and the witness and that he did not hand her a knife.

He also told the State witness that Swartz claims he was at the house of his uncle when the deceased and her parents cornered him there and assaulted him with a hosepipe.

The deceased also threatened Swartz with a knife, Siyomunji claimed, and that Swartz had to threaten the deceased and her parents with his own knife to scare them away.

After that he went to the house of the deceased to talk to her where a quarrel and physical confrontation erupted and the deceased produced a knife and tried to stab him with it, Siyomunji said.

Swartz then took out his own knife and stabbed the deceased in self-defence, he narrated his client’s version of events.

Dominic Lisulo appeared on behalf of the State. The case continues and Swartz remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.