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Exhibit collecting cop testifies in NIMT trial

2021-09-30  Roland Routh

Exhibit collecting cop testifies in NIMT trial
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The scene of the crime officer who collected exhibits and took photographs at the scene, where two senior managers of the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) in Arandis were shot in cold blood, testified about his involvement in the matter yesterday.

Chief Inspector Dino Skrywer, who is the head of the scene of crime unit in Walvis Bay, told Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg that on the morning of 15 April 2019, he was on his way to work when he received a call from Gertrude Naobes – one of the witnesses who already testified – about shots being fired at the NIMT campus. 

He then tried unsuccessfully to reach the Arandis Police Station and thereafter called Warrant Officer Engelhardt Garoëb on his cell phone, informing him about the information he had received. 

He said he then proceeded to Arandis – and when he arrived at the scene at about 06h40, he found several police officers there, including Garoëb. 

He was then briefed and started to take photos of the scene and collecting exhibits, including several spent cartridges and projectiles. 

He further told the court he placed everything in envelopes and later in forensic bags – and took it to the forensic lab in Windhoek himself. 

He further testified about other exhibits collected by colleagues, which he signed in into the unit’s register and how he secured these in forensic bags and transported to the lab personally.

His matter of fact, meticulous testimony is in stark contrast to that of Garoëb, who was lambasted by defence lawyer Albert Titus for “incompetence” by not following procedures when handling the exhibits.

Lichthenstrasser pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder, two counts of possessing a firearm without a licence, and further charges of possessing ammunition without a licence, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, theft, and the unauthorised supply of a firearm and ammunition at the start of his trial. 

He did not provide a plea explanation. 

Titus confirmed the pleas and told the court his client will make use of his constitutionally guaranteed right to remain silent and put the onus on the State to prove every allegation against him.

The prosecution alleges Lichtenstrasser, a former lecturer at the Tsumeb campus of NIMT, shot and killed Eckhardt Mueller and Heinz Heimo Hellwig, who were the executive director and deputy director of NIMT, respectively, at Arandis in April 2019. 

Mueller and Hellwig were killed when they were gunned down at the entrance of the NIMT offices at the Erongo mining town.

It is alleged that before the tragic shooting, Lichtenstrasser was employed at the Tsumeb campus of the institution for a couple of years, which was close to his residence at Otavi and was unhappy about a decision to transfer him to the Keetmanshoop campus.

However, it is stated, the two victims were steadfast in their decision about the transfer, despite his remonstrations. 

Lichtenstrasser remains in police custody at the section for trial awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. 

He is represented by legal aid lawyer Titus and the State by deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef. -

2021-09-30  Roland Routh

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