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Stolen items found in possession of absconded murder accused

2021-06-01  Roland Routh

Stolen items found in possession of absconded murder accused
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A suspect, who managed to abscond in the murder and robbery trial involving an elderly Swakopmund couple in 2017, was found in possession of some of the items stolen from the crime scene.

One of the police officers involved in the arrest of Daniel Nghilifa Stefanus told the court that when they searched the backpack of Stefanus, they found the remote control device of the gate as swell as a Huawei cellphone.

According to Sergeant Paulus Kandjimi, Stefanus admitted the items originated from the scene in Swakopmund, where 81-year-old Siegfried and 79-year-old Sieglinde Strzelecki were robbed. 

Sieglinde was murdered.

Stefanus escaped from police custody in February 2019, leaving his two co-accused Simon Shidute Jerobeam (27) and Fabian Hipukuluka Tange-Omwene Lazarus (29) to face two murder counts, a count of housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery, theft, conspiracy to commit housebreaking with intent to rob and robbery with aggravating circumstances and/or murder and defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

They denied the charges at the start of their trial.

Jerobeam’s legal aid lawyer Tuna Nhinda confirmed the pleas and told the court his client admits he was at the crime scene on the day in question, but that it was only to steal money and that nobody was supposed to be hurt.

He also admitted he stole a camera lens but denied breaking into the house, saying the door was open.

Lazarus, through his State-funded lawyer Milton Engelbrecht, informed the court that he is making use of his constitutionally guaranteed right to remain silent and put the onus on the State to prove every allegation against him.

It is alleged by the State that they broke into the house with the aim to rob the elderly couple and in the process killed Sieglinde by strangulation and caused Siegfried to die eight days later in a frail care home.

It is alleged that Stefanus and Lazarus were employed by the elderly couple to do renovations at their Swakopmund residence and to assist with the transportation of the couple’s property from their Walvis Bay home to Swakopmund.

During this time, the two conspired to steal a safe key and remote control as they planned to steal money and other valuables from the couple, it is further alleged.

 They approached the domestic worker of the couple to steal the remote control, to which she refused.

During the morning of 2 August 2017, the indictment read, the accused, including Stefanus, broke into the residence and attacked the elderly couple and in the process murdered Sieglinde, where-after they unsuccessfully attempted to open one of the safes. 

Thereafter, they ransacked the residence and fled with several items, it is stated. 

They face the second charge of murder after the elderly man suffered a stroke and died eight days later.

The trial continues today and the accused remain in custody at the section for trial awaiting inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility.

Windhoek High Court judge Christie Liebenberg is presiding and State advocate Marthino Olivier is prosecuting.

- rrouth@nepc.com.na


2021-06-01  Roland Routh

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