A Tses farmworker, who was on trial for allegedly murdering his friend, was convicted yesterday in the Windhoek High Court.
Judge Naomi Shivute found Thomas Klein Pieterson (35) guilty of murder with direct intent when he hit Josef Olifand with an axe and or sledgehammer on the head resulting in his death during November 2017.
“The accused by assaulting the deceased with an axe and or sledgehammer on the head, which is a vital part of the body and the injury suffered by the deceased, the only inference that can be drawn from the circumstances is that he had the intent to kill his victim,” said Shivute.
She further convicted him on a charge of theft instead of robbery with aggravating circumstances, citing the state failed to prove that at the time of the assault, Pieterson had the intent of stealing the car.
Pieterson was also found guilty of obstructing the court of justice for dragging Olifand’s body from the farmhouse and disposing it of by burying it with rocks.
The court, however, acquitted Pieterson on a charge of acquiring, possessing or using the proceeds of unlawful activities.
According to undisputed evidence presented in court, Pieterson murdered Olifand while he was visiting him at a farmhouse where he was living in the Tses area.
Pieterson killed Olifand by hitting him with an axe or hammer. After murdering Olifand, he tied a wire around his neck and further tied it to Olifand’s car. He then used the car to drag Olifand’s body away from the farmhouse to dispose it of in a ditch.
He drove off Olifand’s car, which he used to transport passengers for money. He eventually abandoned the car along the B1 road near Tses after the vehicle had broken down.
Olifand’s body was later discovered by passers-by but Pieterson allegedly returned to the place where he had dumped it and dragged the corpse to a ditch, where he allegedly tried to hide it again by burying it under rocks.
During the trial, Pieterson denied guilt on all charges. In his defence, he was acting in self-defence on the date in questions.
Although he opted not to testify in his defence, his reply to the state’s allegation contained in the pre-trial memorandum was used as evidence against him in which he confessed to the crimes.
Pieterson is expected to return to court on 12 April for submissions before sentencing.
During his trial, Pieterson is being represented by Titus Mbaeva, whilst Tangeni Iitula is prosecuting.