WINDHOEK - Rachel Rittmann, 47, the Gobabis woman accused of plotting with her lover, 35-year-old Rhyno Richardo du Preez, to kill her husband in August 2013 yesterday denied all the charges against them in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Christi Liebenberg.
After State Advocate, Marthino Olivier, read out the charges against them, du Preez and Rittmann told the judge that they understood the charges, and pleaded not guilty to all of them.
They face one count of murder, read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act; one count of conspiracy to commit murder; one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances; and one count of defeating, obstructing, or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
According to the State, du Preez and Rachel conspired to kill her husband, 35-year old Rudolph Henry Rittmann. It is alleged that they stabbed the late Rittmann to death at his home in Gobabis, and then drove the body in his vehicle to a secluded spot in the veldt, where they set the vehicle alight with the body of their victim inside.
According to police records and the indictment, the Rittmann couple had marital problems, which would often lead to temporary separation stints during 2012 and 2013.
It is suspected that the accused plotted the man’s murder, and worked together to that effect.
It is alleged that on August 23, 2013, Rachel allegedly fed her husband unidentified tablets in a drink, which caused him to become drowsy and lose concentration. She allegedly then called in du Preez, who was waiting nearby, to kill Rudolf.
Police suspect that Rudolf was stabbed several times all over his body with a sharp object, presumably a knife, as he lay in a state of confusion on his bed.
The two accused then allegedly loaded his body into his car, and drove it up to the Kapps Farm area on the eastern outskirts of Windhoek, a few kilometres east of the police checkpoint, where the car was found burned.
They allegedly did this to create the impression of an accident.
Rudolf’s burnt remains were found in his car a few kilometres outside the Hosea Kutako International Airport, along the Windhoek-Gobabis road a few days after the incident. Lawyer Braam Cupido, on behalf of du Preez, confirmed the plea is in accordance with his instructions, and that his client will make use of his right to remain silent, and put the onus on the State to prove each and every allegation against him.
Lawyer Johan van Vuuren, who was only recently appointed as the new State funded legal representative for Rachel, also informed Judge Liebenberg that the plea is in accordance with his instructions, but he read out a plea explanation in which Rachel made some admissions. She inter alia admitted the identity of the deceased and his bank statements. She also admitted to having an affair with du Preez, and that they were employed at a cash loan in Okahandja. She further admitted that she and du Preez were suspended from their employment at the cash loan. She, however, adamantly denied that she colluded or conspired with du Preez to kill her husband, and that she in any way formed common purpose with him as the State alleges.
Du Preez already wanted to plead guilty on the murder, conspiracy, and obstructing the course of justice charges only, and not guilty to the robbery charge, but withdrew his plea after the State rejected it.
In a lengthy plea explanation, submitted to the court at the time, he basically put the blame for the murder plot squarely on the shoulders of Rachel.
Rachel is being held at Klein Windhoek Police Station, while du Preez is being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s holding cells.
State advocate, Marthino Olivier, assisted by Advocate Ethel Ndlovu, is representing the Prosecutor General.
2018-12-04 09:03:00 2 months ago