WINDHOEK - “For the rest of my life I will always carry hatred towards you until the day I know you are in the grave,” a very emotional woman, who may not be named to protect her identity, told the man accused of sexually violating her in 2012 at his court hearing yesterday.
Gerald Henly Matlata, 35, yesterday confessed to breaking into three women’s homes, raping and robbing two of them as well as murdering his last victim.
He made the confession before Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg. State Advocate Marthino Olivier submitted a revised indictment that only listed seven charges instead of the original nine counts.
After his guilty pleas and the State’s acceptance thereof, Judge Liebenberg found Matlata guilty on one count of murder, two counts of housebreaking with intent to rape, rape, two counts of attempted murder, one count of theft, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one count of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
He was charged with breaking into the home of his first victim during June 29 to 30, 2012 with the intent to rape her and succeeded at doing that. It is further alleged he then strangled, kicked and hit the complainant who may not be named to protect her identity with a glass bottle and robbed her of a packet of cigarettes.
This complainant told the court yesterday her life has changed dramatically after the incident. “It changed everything, ruined everything,” she said.
According to the woman, she suffered from anxiety attacks since the incident and she, her mother and her son lived like hermits for a considerable time. “I could not bear to leave my son for fear that he will be hurt to,” she said and continued:
“It broke my mother as she felt she was supposed to be there to protect me.”
With regard to the second victim, who fortunately managed to break from Matlata’s hold on her and scream for help thereby causing him to flee after robbing her of her handbag valued at N$900 containing and N$100 cash, two cheque books, a purse valued at N$500, sunglasses, credit cards, lipstick and driving license, he was charged and convicted with attempted murder and housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The complainant, Elizabeth Maria van der Merwe testified she lived in constant fear after the attack and that her husband refused to leave her alone. “I felt that I was losing my humanity and I was always afraid,” she said and added that they had to incur considerable expenses to install additional security measures.
According to the plea explanation read into the record by the Gert Appollus, the accused’s State-funded lawyer, Matlata said that after he gained entry into the house of Van Der Merwe, he came upon her suddenly as she emerged from a room and when she saw him, shouted “What are doing in my house?” He then grabbed her and covered her nose and mouth with his hands Matlata said, and continued: “Unfortunately she managed to remove my hands from her mouth and started screaming and I then realised that she might attract the attention of the neighbours and I then fled the scene.”
Matlata further admitted that he broke into the house of Debora Snyman on Friday September 18, 2015 by opening a burglar door and/or glass door with the intent to rape and rob her. According to him, he managed to get the keys through an open window and once inside he encountered the deceased who was unaware of his presence.
“I then sneaked up to her and I then held my t-shirt on both end while stretching it and I put it around her neck whilst standing behind her and I strangled her with it,” he narrated in his plea explanation.
He further said that he then violated the deceased and thereafter left the house. The matter will continue today with submissions on the sentence. Matlata remains in custody.