WINDHOEK - The Windhoek High Court Judge Christi Liebenberg yesterday reserved his sentencing of Rachel Rittmann and Richardo Rhyno du Preez to October 22 at 09h00.
Rachel, dubbed the ‘Gobabis Delilah’ and her former lover Du Preez were convicted of murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act for killing her husband, 35-year old Rudolph Henry Rittmann.
The judge said this after hearing substantive submissions on the sentence to be imposed by Ileni Gebhardt, the government-funded lawyer for Du Preez and Johan van Vuuren for Rittmann also on the ticket of Legal Aid as well as Advocate Marthino Olivier for the prosecution.
Both Gebhardt and Van Vuuren pleaded with the judge not to impose a life sentence on their clients while Olivier was of the opinion that in the circumstances a life sentence would be appropriate.
Du Preez pleaded with the court to be lenient and give him a second chance.
According to him, he found God while in custody and completed several courses of Bible study for which he received diplomas and certificates.
He promised that should the judge give him a chance, he would devote his life to teaching other people in similar circumstances not to follow the path he did.
“Looking back at my actions now, I realised that it was morally wrong and I want the court to know that I am regretful,” Du Preez told the court.
He further “sincerely” apologised to the family of the deceased and said that if there was anything he could do to bring back the deceased, he would do it, but as he is just a human being, it is not possible.
He further said that he is deeply sorry for the pain he caused the family of the deceased, especially his children and hope they will find peace in the hearts and forgive him.
He also mentioned that he did not know the son of the deceased, but that the daughter of the deceased and Rachel were the closest he had to a child of his own.
Du Preez further told the court that he already asked for forgiveness from the mother of the deceased and vowed to her that he will let the truth prevail at the trial, which is why he pleaded guilty and took the court into his confidence.
Rachel did not testify in mitigation and did not call any witnesses, but did tell New Era that she will appeal the conviction as she was coerced into the killing of her husband by Du Preez.
Gebhardt told Judge Liebenberg that her client was as much a victim of Rachel’s cunning as the deceased in that she played both men against each other.
According to her, the moral blameworthiness of Du Preez is much less than that of Rachel as she was the one who came up with the plan to kill her husband and roped Du Preez into her plan.
Van Vuuren on the other hand said that Rachel suffers from anxiety, which is a mitigating factor.
According to him, her condition was the reason she complied with Du Preez as she was afraid of him and believed he would have hurt her if she did not obey his instructions.
Olivier called the murder “horrific” and said what made it even more horrific was the manner in which the body of the deceased was disposed of.
According to him, both accused cannot escape the fact that they planned the murder and executed it to the finest detail.
This, he said, is most aggravating.
Olivier said that courts have been consistently highlighting domestic relations in murder cases and have been meting out severe sentences in such instances to stem the tide, but to no avail.
In the current instance, he said, the most appropriate sentence would be to remove both accused from society for a very long time.
Du Preez and Rittmann were convicted in August this year on a charge of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
2019-10-08 07:26:40 | 9 days ago