WINDHOEK - A man from Mariental who admitted that he strangled a 16-year-old girl to death near a cemetery between October 19 and 21, 2016, before being convicted on two attempted murder counts, one count of rape, one count of crimen injuria and one count of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, wants the court to give him a lenient sentence.
Hendrik Atab Swartz, who admitted that he killed Estonovia Games but denied the rape charges, the attempted murder count, another count of rape alternatively crimen injuria and one count of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, asked Windhoek High Court Judge Dinah Usiku to give him the chance to be released from prison to still be a father to his now eight-year-old daughter.
He was testifying in mitigation of sentence after he was convicted by Judge Usiku yesterday in the High Court at the Windhoek Correctional Facility. His state-funded lawyer Gert Appolus asked the court to order the sentences imposed to run concurrently with the sentence on the murder charge.
Swartz pleaded guilty to the murder charge at the start of his trial, but State Advocate Marthino Olivier rejected the plea, as Swartz did not admit that he intended to kill the teenager. Judge Usiku found yesterday that the deceased was brutally assaulted whereby she broke her arm, sustained serious injuries and was left seriously injured without any form of assistance from the accused.
She said he admitted that he put his hands around her neck and applied force for at least four minutes. “The accused used a lot of manual force which led the deceased to die on the scene,” the judge said, and continued: “Taking all the factors into account, the only reasonable conclusion to come to is that the accused had a direct intention to bring about the deceased’s death on the night of the incident.”
With regards to the first count of rape on the deceased, the judge said that not enough evidence was adduced by the state to sustain a verdict of guilty and as such, he must be given the benefit of the doubt. According to the judge, the postmortem examination did not find any sign of penetration and as such it cannot be proved that a sexual act did occur.
She accordingly acquitted Swartz on that count.
The judge reserved her judgment on the sentence to April 30 at 10h00.