Accused Admits Slap, Denies Murder

A MAN accused of raping and murdering his elderly employer in the Ovitoto area in September 2009 testified in the Windhoek High Court last week that he only slapped his alleged victim in the face once before he abandoned his employment with her.

Paulus Titus told Judge Nate Ndauendapo that he slapped the late Erica Tjiho (75) in the face out of anger, because she had failed to pay him the wages he was promised and because she tried to prevent him from leaving the place where he had been working for her in the Ovitoto area.

Titus said Tjiho was alive when he left from her house around 13h00 on 1 September 2009.

Between 17h00 and 18h00, when one of the prosecution’s witnesses in his trial claims to have seen him coming out of Tjiho’s house bare-chested and with a loose belt, he was no longer at that scene, Titus said.

In his testimony he also disputed the correctness of the results of DNA analysis done in Canada, according to which a DNA sample collected from Tjiho’s private parts matched the DNA profile of Titus.

Titus denied that the DNA test results showed that he had raped Tjiho as alleged by the prosecution.

Titus (28) is charged with counts of murder, rape and robbery with aggravating circumstances. He pleaded not guilty to the charges at the start of his trial in October 2011.

The prosecution is charging that Titus raped and murdered Tjiho in her house in the Ovitoto area east of Okahandja on 1 September 2009. He allegedly also robbed her by stealing clothing and an unknown amount of money from her.

Tjiho was found dead in her house late on the afternoon of 1 September 2009. She had been beaten and strangled and her house had been left in disarray.

Titus told the court he was supposed to be paid N$350 a month for working for Tjiho. However, after working for her for four months he had been paid only N$300, so on the morning of 1 September 2009 he decided that he would not continue to work for her, he testified.

He said he told Tjiho of his decision and then went to a bar in the area, where he drank with a friend. He returned to Tjiho’s house, where he lived in an outside room, around 13h00, and that was when the incident in which he slapped her took place, he said.

In a statement that he made to a magistrate after his arrest, Titus said he had slapped Tjiho a number of times and that he saw her nose was bleeding after that. During his testimony Titus denied having said that to the magistrate.

He also denied that he had instructed his first defence lawyer, who withdrew from the trial in June last year, that he had slapped Tjiho a couple of times, as was stated in a document that the lawyer filed with the court before the trial.

Titus completed his testimony in his own defence on Friday. Closing arguments on the verdict to be delivered in the trial are due to be heard on 2 October.

Titus, who is being kept in custody, is being represented by defence lawyer Hipura Ujaha. State aocate Karin Esterhuizen is prosecuting.

Source : The Namibian