WINDHOEK - Rachel Rittmann, who hired an ex-lover to kill her husband in August 2013, has been sentenced to life in prison. The 49-year-old Rittmann and her former lover Richardo Rhyno du Preez, 35, were both convicted of murder read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act for 35-year old Rudolph Henry Rittmann.
Yesterday, Judge Christie Liebenberg sentenced Rachel, whom he called the mastermind behind the brutal murder, to life imprisonment for her role in the killing, while du Preez received a total custodial term of 34 years imprisonment.
Both Rachel and Du Preez were sentenced to three years for conspiracy to commit murder.
Rachel got one year for theft and both eight years for defeating or obstructing the course of justice.
However, the judge ordered that the sentences on conspiracy and theft run concurrent with the murder sentence and that four of the eight years on defeating or obstructing the course of justice run concurrently with the murder sentence.
“Like a moth drawn to a flame, so were the deceased and first accused romantically attracted to the second accused, unfortunately with the same devastating consequences: Like the flame to the moth, she consumed both under the guise of love - the one paying with his life, the other having to pay the price for committing murder,” Judge Liebenberg opened his sentencing yesterday in the Windhoek High Court.
According to the judge, the moral blameworthiness of Rachel is much higher than that of Du Preez as she was the one who hatched the plan to kill her husband for his pension and insurance payout.
He disagreed with the suggestion by her defence counsel that she suffered from an anxiety disorder, which impacted on her normal state of mind.
On the contrary, the judge said, the evidence established persistent behaviour over a period of months to plan and execute the murder of her husband with the assistance of Du Preez.
“During this process, she took several preparatory steps to put in place the deceased’s will and life insurance policies as regards beneficiaries,” the judge said and continued: “She took a calculated decision when the murder should take place and facilitated its execution at their home in Gobabis.”
The judge went on to say that the evidence also showed that Rachel during and after the commissioning of the crimes was what can only be described as calm and goal-oriented.
According to the judge, the murder and even so the circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime, undoubtedly makes it a very serious offence.
“It is evident that the motive behind the killing was exclusively for the accused persons’ personal and selfish reasons.”
He said they were so obsessed of getting the deceased out of the way that they completely disregarded what affect it would have on the deceased’s children and the pain and suffering it would bring to his family.
“As the evidence established, it impacted severely on the health of the deceased’s parents and significantly reduced their quality of life thereafter,” the judge said.
“As for their minor daughter, this young child must for the rest of her life live under the stigma that her father was murdered by her own mother.”
“The deceased was virtually ambushed by his wife and taken by surprise whilst asleep in bed at home, a place where he was supposed to be safe.”
2019-10-23 07:08:25 | 20 days ago