WINDHOEK, 03 DEC – A Gobabis woman implicated in the murder of her husband in August 2013 in order to supposedly cash in on his inheritance, on Monday denied any involvement in committing the offence.
Rachel Elizabeth Rittmann, 45, is charged in the matter along with her lover and alleged accomplice, the 33-year-old Ryno Ricardo du Preez in respect of the circumstances that led to the death of Rudolf Rittmann on 23 August 2013.
The two accused denied any involvement in committing the offence when they entered “not guilty” pleas to the charges of murder, conspiring to kill the deceased, robbery with aggravating circumstances when they allegedly assaulted the victim and took some of his valuable personal property, and obstructing or attempting to obstruct the course of justice after they allegedly cleaned the room at a house in Gobabis in efforts to eliminate the physical evidence that would link them to the crime.
In her statement, accused Rittmann informed presiding High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg that she was not influenced or forced by any person or persons in respect of her not guilty pleas to all the charges.
She told the court she was at no time involved in the alleged conspiracy to kill her husband or in the actual killing of her husband.
Accused Du Preez did not provide any statement in respect of his pleas and challenged the prosecution team to prove the truthfulness of every allegation contained in the charge sheet.
The late Rittmann’s burnt remains were found in his car a few kilometres outside the Hosea Kutako International Airport along the Windhoek-Gobabis road after the alleged murder.
According to police records and the indictment, the couple had marital problems which would often lead to temporary separation stints during 2012 and 2013.
It is suspected that the two accused in the matter plotted the man’s murder and worked together to that effect.
It is alleged that on 23 August 2013, accused Rittmann allegedly fed her husband unidentified tablets through a drink, which caused him to become drowsy and lose concentration.
She allegedly then called in her boyfriend and co-accused Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, to kill the victim. He was stabbed several times with a sharp object, presumably a knife, as he lay in bed in a state of confusion.
The two accused then allegedly loaded his body into his car (an Isuzu pick-up) and drove it up to the Kappsfarm area on the eastern outskirts of Windhoek, a few kilometres east of the police checkpoint where the car was found burned.
They apparently set the vehicle on fire in an effort to cover their tracks.
Rittmann is being held at the Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s holding cells.
State advocates Martino Olivier and Ethel Ndlovu are defending the prosecution’s case.
Trial continues on Tuesday. – NAMPA