Zimbabwean parents who stand accused of assaulting their nine-year-old daughter and causing her death will stand trial next year.
On Monday, Windhoek High Court Judge Philanda Christiaan informed Edward Nkata, his wife Caroline Nkata, and Rachel Kureva that their trial will commence on 24 January 2024.
Christiaan made the order after granting the State’s request to have Kureva’s case and that of the Nkatas consolidated.
The Nkatas, alongside Kureva are accused of murdering Akundaishe Natalie Chipomho between 23 and 25 January 2020.
Kureva, Chipomho’s biological mother was re-arrested, following the surfacing of incriminating evidence. The incriminating statement came from the Nkatas’ 14-year-old son.
As a result of that statement, the prosecutor general (PG) decided to arraign Kureva alongside the Nkatas. This came a year after the PG initially declined to prosecute Kureva due to lack of evidence.
The Nkatas and Kureva will be tried on a charge of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, defeating the course of justice and violating a dead body.
The Nkatas face additional charges of attempted murder, fraud, alternatively uttering a forged document, forgery, as well as contravening the Immigration Control Act.
According to the prosecution, the couple tried to kill Edward’s then 11-year-old son by hitting him with a belt and unknown objects all over his body between 20 and 22 January 2020 but he survived the deadly ordeal.
However, between 23 and 25 January 2020, the Nkatas kicked and hit Chipomho with unknown objects on her body and head, leaving her unconscious.
The couple then placed her in a plastic bucket and waited for her to die, it is further alleged.
She later died due to blunt impact head injuries. The Nkatas then went to the nearby service station and bought paraffin and matches, the State alleges.
They then reportedly transported Chipomho’s remains in a wheely bin to a municipal skip a distance away from their flat, where they dumped the body and set it alight.
The Nkatas were spotted dragging a wheelie bin in the eastern direction of Ooievaar Street in the Rhino Park area around 21h00 and a witness felt it was suspicious because it was at night. They were also caught on a surveillance camera in the area.
After the incident, the couple took their minor children in an attempt to flee but were arrested between Okahandja and Mariental.
The prosecution further alleges the Nkatas defrauded Progress Private School of N$6 000. It is alleged Caroline indicated to the school where she was employed as a teacher that Chipomho and an 11-year-old minor were her biological children.
Thus, the minor children were not required to pay school fees by virtue of her being an employee at the school.
The couple is also accused of forging school reports for the children. They are further accused of overstaying in the country for seven months after their employment permits expired.
During the accused’s first appearance in Windhoek Magistrate’s Court, Caroline, who admitted guilt, confessed her husband [Edward] beat Chipomho.
She was allegedly home when the victim was being beaten. After the child died from the assault, her husband forced her to help him dispose of the girl’s body in a rubbish skip. It was her testimony that he further forced her to accompany him to buy paraffin, dispose of the body, and set it alight.
According to court documents, at the time of Chipomho’s death, the couple was residing in a flat in Windhoek North together with the victim’s biological mother, Kureva.