A man from Ariamsvlei in the Karasburg district, who allegedly poured petrol on his girlfriend and mother of his 13-month-old baby girl, pleaded not guilty.
He denied one charge of murder and two charges of attempted murder, all read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act.
Manfred Links (30) did not provide a plea explanation and his legal aid instructed lawyer Milton Engelbrecht told the court that the plea is in accordance with his instructions and that Links is putting the onus on the State to prove each and every allegation against him.
Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg accepted the plea.
It is alleged by the State that on 1 January 2020, he unlawfully and intentionally assaulted Michelle Roelph, to who he was married and had a child, by pouring petrol on her and setting her alight with the intention to kill her, causing her to die on 12 January 2020 from the injuries in the Keetmanshoop State Hospital.
It is further alleged that also on 1 January, he assaulted the deceased by hitting her with a belt all over her body and strangling her with the intention to kill her. The State further charged that Links also tried to kill his daughter by dousing her with petrol and setting her alight causing her to sustain serious burn wounds on the arms and feet.
Yesterday, an eyewitness to the incident testified.
Merelise Eiman told the court that she was watching TV at around 22h00 when she got a strong smell of petrol and when she investigated, she saw Links and the deceased approaching her. When she enquired as to what was happening, the deceased told her that Links is dousing her with petrol. She then summoned help from a neighbour and when she turned back, she saw the deceased engulfed in flames and she and the neighbour threw water over the flames, she said. The witness further explained that the accused then kicked down the deceased and while she was lying on the ground, he attempted to strangle her. Links denied this and claimed through Engelbrecht that he tried to extinguish the flames on the ground and denies trying to strangle her. The witness was however steadfast that what she saw was Links kicking Roelph and putting his hands around her throat.
She further testified that Links then disappeared and she and the neighbour carried Roelph inside the house and covered her with a blanket. The neighbour then left and she remained with the victim. After a while, the accused returned, begged, and cried to see the deceased, but Roelph refused. He then stopped a car and the deceased was taken to the clinic at Ariamsvlei and later to the hospital.
The matter continues and Links remains in custody. Ian Malumani is prosecuting.