Accused Admits Killing, Asks for Bail

A YOUNG man accused of murdering his pregnant teenaged girlfriend at Mariental in October 2012 admitted yesterday that he was responsible for the killing – but wants to be released on bail to await the start of his trial.

Testifying in the Windhoek High Court during the hearing of a bail application, Charles Michael Swartz (20) told Judge Alfred Siboleka that he took the life of his 16-year-old girlfriend, Sara van der Westhuizen, at Mariental on 3 October 2012. However, Swartz added, it was not his intention to kill Van der Westhuizen when he stabbed her with a knife: “It was not my intention to injure her to that extent. I did not mean to kill her.”

He will plead not guilty to murder when he goes on trial, Swartz said.

Van der Westhuizen died after Swartz had stabbed her seven times with a knife, the prosecution is charging. The last stab injury was inflicted to her neck when she was trying to hide behind someone else, after she had already fled from the scene where Swartz had stabbed her six times, the prosecution is alleging in its indictment.

Swartz will face charges of murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and assault by threat when he goes on trial. Due to a full criminal court roll at the Windhoek High Court his trial is scheduled to start only on 16 March 2015.

Swartz confirmed several of the allegations made by the prosecution in its indictment during his testimony. He admitted that he and Van der Westhuizen were involved in a relationship, that she was pregnant with his child, and that he killed her.

He also admitted that earlier on the day of the incident a police officer had warned him to refrain from acting violently towards Van der Westhuizen. He received that warning when Van der Westhuizen’s mother took him and her daughter to the Mariental Police Station so that he could be warned about using violence against Van der Westhuizen.

Swartz further admitted that he had a rope and a suicide note with him when he was arrested a few hours after the killing.

In the note that was found in his pocket Swartz stated that Van der Westhuizen’s mother had been the cause of the incident and that it was because of her that he was going to hang himself, a police officer, Detective Sergeant Josef Isaacks, also told the court.

The bail hearing is due to continue on 4 April.

Defence lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji is representing Swartz. State aocate Ethel Ndlovu is prosecuting.

Source : The Namibian