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Lichtenstrasser claims he was forced to remain in underwear

2022-10-20  Roland Routh

Lichtenstrasser claims he was forced to remain in underwear

Double murder accused Ernst Lichtenstrasser yesterday told Windhoek High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg he was forced to remain only in his underpants after the police confiscated his clothes as evidence.

According to him, he had to sit in the office of the serious crime unit in his underwear for over an hour before his wife brought him a set of fresh clothes. The police, however, denied this according to deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef. 

She clarified the police claim he was asked to undress and hand over the clothes he was arrested in only after his wife brought him the fresh set of clothes. Lichtenstrasser is facing cross-examination from Verhoef in a mini-trial to determine the admissibility of an alleged confession he made to the police. 

The alleged confession was recorded with a cellphone.  Lichtenstrasser further claimed he was never “verbally” informed of his legal rights when booked out of the cells for interviews or interrogations as he called it. 

With regards to his hunger strike, he said it was never intended for him to end his life, but to ensure his legal rights are adhered to. 

He said he embarked on the hunger strike after he was not allowed to phone his wife, a lawyer or seek medical assistance. Furthermore, he said, he was bombarded with demands to confess to the murders of Eckhardt Mueller, who was the executive director at the time – and his deputy Heinz Heimo Hellwig. Mueller and Hellwig were gunned down at the entrance of the NIMT offices at the Erongo mining town of Arandis on 15 April 2019. The State is alleging Lichtenstrasser ambushed the two victims at the gate of the NIMT campus and fired several shots at them while they were sitting in their vehicle.

Lichtenstrasser was adamant he never made a confession, as he had nothing to confess to. 

However, the State, represented by Verhoef, says he made the confession to the police officers freely and voluntarily – and that he admitted to being the shooter of the two executives.   

Lichtenstrasser 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; his Legal Aid lawyer Albertus 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. 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, but he 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.  


2022-10-20  Roland Routh

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