Murder victim Andre Heckmair had informed his family about a planned meeting he was to attend with two American nationals, his sister Bianca Heckmair testified yesterday in the High Court.
Bianca took the witness stand yesterday before High Court judge Christie Liebenberg to recount the events of 11 January 2011, which was the same day Andre’s lifeless body was found with a gunshot wound to his head in Klein Windhoek. According to her testimony, Andre arrived in Namibia on 18 December 2010 from Switzerland, where he had been pursuing his studies.
Andre, his girlfriend Christine Brühwiler, and his entire family travelled to the coast on 25 December 2010 for holidays, and returned to Windhoek on 6 January 2011. On 11 January 2011, Bianca informed the court, she and her family visited a local medical aid fund to collect their cards.
But when they returned to Maerua Mall, where the family owned a restaurant, Andre indicated he had a lunch meeting that he needed to attend to. “He told me he was going to have a lunch meeting with two friends who were Americans, and were also friends of Natalie (Andre’s friend),” explained Bianca. She said the meeting was to take place at Stellenbosch restaurant. However, in the afternoon, she received a call from the police, informing her about her brother’s death.
“When my parents and I arrived at the scene, my brother was not in the car. The police officers asked if we would like to see him, and they directed us to the back of a van where he was,” said Bianca.
The police found Andre with a fatal gunshot wound to the head where he sat behind the steering wheel of a white Landcruiser. Bianca testified that at the time of his death, Andre was in a relationship with Brühwiler. They had been in a relationship since 2008. The police in 2011 indicated Brühwiler previously had a relationship with Marcus Thomas (36), one of the accused in the matter.
Thomas and co-accused Kevan Townsend (35), are charged with a count of murder, a count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act, and a count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. The prosecution is alleging that the two accused met in New York in the United States of America, where Thomas paid the bail of Townsend.
After the release of Townsend, they travelled to Helsinki in Finland, from where they forwarded a package to Namibia containing a firearm silencer, but which was labelled ‘furniture spare’ or ‘table leg replacement’ in preparation for their plan to travel to Namibia and allegedly kill the victim. After they arrived in Namibia, court documents state that they started making enquiries on the whereabouts of Andre, and bought an illegal 7.65mm pistol.
After they managed to contact Andre, they allegedly lured him to the quiet Windhoek street where they shot him once in the head and robbed him of his cell phone and wallet containing 100 Swiss franc. Thomas and Townsend were arrested at a guesthouse in Windhoek on the evening after the killing. The men have since denied any wrongdoing. The trial continues.