Employees deny killing Usakos farmer

Home Crime and Courts Employees deny killing Usakos farmer

Maria Amakali

WINDHOEK – Three employees of farm Villa Rosa in Usakos have denied having a hand in the killing in October 2015 of their boss, Willem Cornelius de Klerk, aged 71 at the time.
The accused, Karel Claasen, 28, Dion Haraseb, 35 and Zelda Harases, 28, pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder when they took the stand in the Windhoek High Court for their trial before Judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday. 

All accused face a charge of murder, two counts of housebreaking with intent to steal and robbery with aggravating circumstances; a count of robbery with aggravating circumstances; use of motor vehicle without the owner’s consent; attempting to or obstructing the course of justice; possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition. 
Classen and Harases have denied guilt to all eight charges. 
However, Haraseb admitted guilt to a count of attempting to or obstructing the course of justice; use of motor vehicle without the owner’s consent; possession of firearms without a licence and possession of ammunition.
The three accused were all employees on De Klerk’s farm, Villa Rosa, located some 47 kilometres from Usakos in the Erongo Region. De Klerk, who lived alone after his wife died earlier in 2015, was shot twice with his own firearm, which the accused had allegedly stolen from his vehicle on October 19, 2015. 
The prosecution is alluding that Claasen and his co-accused tried to obstruct the course of justice when they dragged De Klerk’s body from where he was killed and dumped him in a water tank. They allegedly covered his body with various objects in the tank. Furthermore, that the accused discarded the spent projectiles from the scene and hid all the firearms with the purpose of misleading the investigations that De Klerk was killed in Swakopmund.
The charges are that after the killing, Claasen and his co-accused robbed De Klerk, loaded the stolen items in his truck and drove off. The loot included two rifles, gas bottles, clothes, sheepskins, food, a digital camera and cash. 
The accused abandoned the truck between Usakos and Karibib and went in different directions, each with the stolen properties. 
State witness Imelda Samises, mother to Harases and aunt to Haraseb, testified that Claasen confessed that Haraseb shot the ‘white man’ (De Klerk).  In sworn testimony, Samises said that Harases arrived with her boyfriend and co-accused Haraseb at her home with a bag full of groceries on the date in question.  
The trial is ongoing in the high court. Claasen and Haraseb remain in custody at Windhoek Central Correctional Facility, while Harases is free on a warning.
Government-sponsored defence lawyers Mbanga Siyomunji, Ileni Gebhardt and Mese Tjituri are representing the three accused.