Roland Routh Windhoek-Willem Freddy Eksteen should have foreseen that his actions, when he strangled the mother of his child with a nylon rope at a farm near Aroab in the deep south of Namibia, could have resulted in her death, Judge Dinah Usiku said on Monday in the Windhoek High Court at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, where she convicted him of murder. Eksteen was accused of murdering Janetta Babiep –with whom he was in a romantic relationship and had a child – during the period September 21 to 22, 2014 at farm Warmfontein near Aroab in the Keetmanshoop District. He claimed that Babiep committed suicide by hanging herself from the roof of a room in which they were sleeping. According to Judge Usiku, while the state’s case was mainly based on circumstantial evidence, the undisputed facts are that Eksteen and the deceased were alone in the room and that he had altered the scenery. She said it is common cause that it was Eksteen who first reported the “suicide” – and if it was indeed ‘suicide’ why was it necessary for him to change the scenery? Judge Usiku said she was not satisfied that the claimed changes (i.e. the moving of the body from the ceiling to the bed) could have been brought about by the accused alone, taking into account the dead weight of the body. She said it is improbable that he could have managed it without seeking the help of other people in the vicinity. His explanation that he alone moved the body is clearly false and must be rejected, the judge stated. She added that when dealing with circumstantial evidence the court must not consider every component in the body of evidence separately and individually, but consider the cumulative effect of all the evidence together to determine an accused’s guilt or innocence. In the present instance, the judge said, the evidence of the doctor who conducted the post-mortem, together with the fact that the accused and deceased shared a single bed that evening, but he could not hear anything when the deceased committed ‘suicide’, and his conduct after allegedly discovering the ‘suicide’ in addition to his claim of having changed the scenery before alerting other people, clearly show he had something to hide concerning the death of the deceased. “Although the state’s case is indeed based on circumstantial evidence, it is still not allowed for the court to consider such evidence to be less compelling then direct evidence or evidence by an eyewitness. The state is thus bound and obliged to prove the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” she stressed. According to the judge, the only person that could have applied such force to the neck was the accused and he should have foreseen that by applying such force to the neck, a vulnerable part of the body, would result in death, but he nevertheless continued to do so. Eksteen was represented by Milton Engelbrecht on instructions of legal aid and the state was represented by State Advocate Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura. The trial will continue on March 15 with pre-sentencing procedures and Eksteen’s bail was cancelled. He will remain in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-awaiting inmates until the finalisation of the trial.
New Era Reporter
2018-02-28 09:38:38 10 months ago