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Witness denies sex with American murder accused

2021-09-01  Roland Routh

Witness denies sex with American murder accused

Roland Routh

WINDHOEK - One of the State witnesses in the trial of two American citizens accused of the assassination-like murder of Andre Heckmair in Windhoek in 2011, yesterday strongly denied that either she or her friend had sexual relations with Kevan Townsend.

This came after Lilian Mbaeva, the Legal Aid-instructed lawyer of Townsend’s co-accused Marcus Thomas put it to witness Leilani Plaatjies that her instructions are that she and her friend, Roxy Shaw, were involved in a threesome with Townsend.

While Plaatjies admitted that she and Shaw were at the guesthouse the accused was staying at, she testified that she could not remember which day it was. She conceded that it could have been the early morning hours of 1 January 2011, but strenuously denied that anything sexual took place.

Plaatjies testified that she and Shaw went to celebrate New Year’s Day at a club in the city and when the countdown began, they went outside to dodge champagne showers. While they were standing in the parking lot of the club, two men approached them and introduced themselves as Kash and M.

She said she asked M what it stands for, and he replied “Marcus”. She also asked Townsend if Kash is his real name, and he replied that his “government name” is Kevan.

They then exchanged phone numbers, and the two accused left while she and Roxy went back into the club. However, during cross-examination by Mbaeva and Mbanga Siyomunji, on behalf of Townsend, she said she was not sure whether they went home after the encounter, or went with the two accused to their guesthouse.

She further testified that she remembers being at the guesthouse at some stage, but could not remember when, but she does remember they were there until daybreak.

When both defence counsels pressed her on inconsistencies in a statement she gave to the police, she could only state that she told the police what she thought was relevant at the time. On their assertions that she was lying because she felt embarrassed about the sexual encounter, the witness strenuously insisted that such a thing never happened. She said while at the guesthouse, they only idled by the pool and “smoked some weed” under a lapa in the entertainment area.

She also testified that she, Roxy and the two Americans visited a famous restaurant where they spent “a couple of hours” having dinner and drinks during the evening of 1 January 2011.

Thomas and Townsend are accused of killing Heckmair through a single gunshot in the head on 7 January 2011 at Gusinde Street in Windhoek, and robbing him of his cellphone and wallet containing 100 Swiss Franc.

It is further alleged that they unlawfully imported two 9mm pistol barrels without a permit, or alternatively possessed the 9mm barrels without a licence; as well as the alleged possession of a 7.65mm pistol without a licence; and the unlawful possession of ammunition.

They are further charged with the intent to defeat or obstruct the course of justice for allegedly removing a notebook from police custody after the police had seized it as an exhibit, and/or burned, destroyed or otherwise disposed of some of the pages in the book.

They are facing one count of murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act, and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

The matter is continuing before Windhoek High Court judge Christie Liebenberg, while deputy prosecutor general Antonia Verhoef is representing the State.

Both Thomas and Townsend remain in custody.


2021-09-01  Roland Routh

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