Strangler suspect disputes admissions

Home Crime and Courts Strangler suspect disputes admissions

Roland Routh

Windhoek-A young man from Aroab in the deep south of Namibia, who is accused of strangling the 19-year-old mother of his child to death with a nylon rope, is disputing certain admissions he made, including a statement to the police and a confession to a magistrate.

According to Willem Freddy Eksteen, 20, he was physically assaulted by the police officers that arrested him and was threatened to make the confessions to magistrate Anthony Shapumba at Keetmanshoop.

He further claims he was never informed of his legal rights, especially the right to a legal aid lawyer and the right not to incriminate himself.

Shapumba and the officers involved in the investigation and arrest of Eksteen will testify in the trial-within-a-trial to establish the accuracy of his claims.

He is accused of murdering Janetta Babiep with whom he was in a romantic relationship and had a child, during the period September 21 to 22, 2014 near Aroab.

While details about what happened that night remain sketchy, as only Eksteen and the deceased were in the room when she died, he claims she committed suicide by hanging herself with a nylon rope from the ceiling of their room.

But Dr Verkusha Maksym, from the Keetmanshoop State Hospital, who performed an autopsy on the dead girl, told Judge Dinah Usiku, at the High Court at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, that according to his observations from the autopsy on the deceased it is inconceivable she could have hanged herself as the evidence does not support such a scenario.

He said it is more plausible that she was strangled “forcefully with a rope”.
During the last few days of the trial the State called the family and a friend of the deceased who testified she was happy and did not show any signs of depression that could have led to her committing suicide.

One of the witnesses, Avill Jossop, told the court the deceased confided in him on the Saturday before her death that she and the accused were no longer in a relationship, but she did not elaborate.

However, in a statement made by another of the witnesses, Derick van Schalkwyk, he said he overheared a conversation between the deceased and the accused that night before they all went to sleep, in which she apparently said: ‘I am not happy here, I want to go far away, I have been hurt too much already.’

Van Schalkwyk however denied he ever said that to the police officer who took down his statement, but Eksteen told the court through his lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, that it was true – it was what the deceased told him that night before they went to sleep.

The officers that were called to testify yesterday in the trial-within-a-trial all denied they assaulted or threatened the accused.

The case continues today and Eksteen is out on a warning.
State Advocate Felicitas Sikerete-Vendura appears on behalf of the State.