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Mariental strangler jailed for 51 years

2019-05-03  Roland Routh

Mariental strangler jailed for 51 years

WINDHOEK – Hendrik Atab Swartz, a resident of Mariental whoadmitted he strangled a 16-yearold girl to death near a cemetery between October 19 and 21, 2016 – and was further 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 – was sentenced to an effective 51 years’ direct imprisonment on Tuesday by Windhoek High Court Judge Dinah Usiku.

Judge Usiku sentenced Swartz at the High Court situated at the Windhoek Correctional Facility to 26 years on the murder conviction, 10 years each on the attempted murder convictions, 15 years on the rape conviction and cautioned him on the convictions of crimen injuria and assault. She however ordered that the two sentences on the attempted murder
convictions run concurrently which left Swartz with an effective jail term of 51 years.

Judge Usiku said that a message must be sent out that we live in an orderly society, which is governed by moral values and obligations with respect for one another.  “Further that every member of society must be allowed to enjoy freedom of movement without being attacked,” she said and continued: “It is therefore not in the interest of society when persons
like the accused trample on the values and rights of others.”

The judge further stressed the sanctity of life is a fundamental human right enshrined in law by the Namibian Constitution and must be respected and protected by all. Therefore, she said, the court has an important role to play in that it must uphold and promote respect for the law through its judgements and the imposition of appropriate sentences on those 
making themselves guilty of serious crimes such as the present ones.

“We are all aware that if courts fail to protect society that may lead to anarchy where those aggrieved can go and take the law into their own hands,” Judge Usiku stated. With regard to the current case, the judge said she took all the relevant factors into consideration and came to the conclusion that this is one instance where a lengthy custodial sentence is inevitable which brings about that rehabilitation as an objective of punishment becomes a lesser consideration.

She further said that violence against women and children has become rampant and the courts have a duty to curb such crimes, which have become a threat to society as a whole. “A message must therefore be clear that our courts
will not hesitate to punish those who commit serious crimes and will protect and defend the victim’s rights, especially the most vulnerable who are women and children in our society,” the judge stated.

Swartz admitted that he killed 16-year-old Estonovia Games and was further found guilty of raping a 12-year-old girl on March, 25, 2016 and attempting to kill her by strangling her with her hair band and further of attempting to murder a
19-year-old woman in his shack at Mariental on May 1, 2013. He was represented by Gert Appolus on instructions of legal aid and the State by Advocate Marthino Olivier.

2019-05-03  Roland Routh

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