The three men charged with the brutal murder of elderly farmers Gielam Botha (78) and his 80-year-old wife Susara Aletta (80) at their farm Lindeshof near Köes in the Keetmanshoop district, on Monday denied they were responsible for the murders.
Although Julius Frederick Arndt (42), Andries Afrikaner (39), and Johannes Christiaan (38) admit they were on the farm that fateful night, they all deny responsibility for the murders.
Each had a different story to tell in statements they made to magistrate Philanda Christiaan in Keetmanshoop the day after they were arrested.
They face two counts of murder, two counts of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances, one count of rape, alternatively violating a dead body, conspiracy to commit robbery with aggravating circumstances and/or murder and/or rape, and housebreaking with intent to steal and theft.
According to the State, the accused acted with a common purpose at all material times.
It is alleged that the three accused broke into the house of the deceased during the late night hours of 1 February 2018 and stole at least N$550 cash, one measuring tape, an electrical plug, a tire gauge and a bulb.
After the deceased discovered the theft, they arranged for burglar bars to be installed at their residence. But before this could be effected, the accused returned the very next night and gained entrance by breaking open windows or doors, the indictment reads.
During the ransacking of the residence, it is alleged, they came across the elderly couple and murdered Gielam by hitting him with a piece of iron and shooting him in the mouth with a rifle that belonged to the deceased. Thereafter, it is said, they raped the elderly woman, or alternatively had intercourse with her dead body after they stabbed her several times and strangled her with a shoelace.
In his statement, Arndt admitted that they broke into the house of the elderly couple, and that he stole several items from the house, including photo frames and jewellery, and that he “took” the motor vehicle and drove to Aranos with it, where he was arrested. At that stage he was alone, he stated.
He, however, categorically denied that he killed the deceased persons.
He further said that while he was looking for items to steal in the office, he heard a gunshot. Afrikaner then came running with a rifle in his hands, and upon enquiry as to what he was doing with the rifle, Afrikaner said: “Yes, I killed both of them.”
Afrikaner, for his part, said he was outside the house when he heard gunshots, and he went to see if Arndt wasn’t shot. When he looked inside the window, he saw the old man lying on his back with the rifle on top of him. He then entered through the window and picked up the rifle, but it was locked. He then went to look for Arndt, and found him a room where he was busy strangling the old lady with a black rope.
“I then said leave her, you already shot the husband, but he refused,” Afrikaner stated, adding that afterwards, he ran home.
Similarly, Christiaan admitted that he was at the house, but claimed he never entered the house. He said after he saw the other two were in the house, he ran back to Köes.
He further claimed that when he saw Afrikaner again, the latter told him he made big S&*%t, but did not elaborate.
The matter is continuing today. Arndt is represented by Titus Mbaeva, Afrikaner by Linus Samaria and Christiaan by Tuna Nhinda.
Marthino Olivier is prosecuting, with high court judge Dinnah Usiku on the bench.