WINDHOEK - The man accused of killing his girlfriend and mother of his daughter pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder in the Windhoek High Court on Monday morning and told the court he cannot remember anything that happened on that fateful day.
Johny Ryno Diergaardt is charged with the murder of Tiffany Tanita Lewin on March 3, 2014 at the room he rented at Erf 427, Garnet Street in Khomasdal.
According to the state, he stabbed the deceased at least 27 times in front of her four-year old son with different knives.
The trial has been plagued by various delays due to psychiatric assessments asked for by the Boris Isaacks, the state funded lawyer of Diergaardt. All the assessments including a private assessment all declared Diergaardt fit to stand trial.
Yesterday after state Advocate Seredine Jacobs read out the charge, Diergaardt answered not guilty through an interpreter and Isaacks confirmed the plea was in accordance with his instructions. He informed High Court Judge Nate Ndauendapo that their plea is based on the premise that Diergaardt does not remember what happened on the day in question.
The first witness to testify, the mother of the deceased, Elsabe Lewin, told the court the relationship between Diergaardt and the deceased was marred by incidences of violence. According to her, the deceased once showed her a sms from Diergaardt in which he threatened her. Isaacks however, during cross-examination of this witness said that his client will claim that the deceased neglected their child and would go out drinking with friends leaving the child at home.
According to the indictment, Lewin and her son arrived during the early evening hours to collect some property which the accused earlier the same day removed from her handbag.
He then stabbed her at least 27 times with knives after which he fled the scene.
Newspaper reports at the time indicated that the four-year old boy tried to intervene and managed to stab the accused on his upper thigh in an attempt to stop the accused from continuing to stab his mother.
The deceased died on the scene due to blood loss.
The accused was arrested when he returned to his room later that night.
He remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial awaiting