Accused Man Denies Murder, Rape Charges

A MAN accused of committing murder, rape, attempted murder and attempted rape at Otjimbingwe three years ago pleaded not guilty to four charges at the start of his trial in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

“I already said I am not guilty. They must go and ask the river,” Gotlieb Gariseb (35) replied when Judge Naomi Shivute asked him whether he was pleading guilty or not guilty to a count of murder, which is the first of the charges he is facing.

Gariseb’s response to the second charge, which is a count of rape, was: “I don’t know. Who saw me?”

After his defence lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji, had a word with him, Gariseb told the judge he was pleading not guilty to each of the four charges.

He is accused of having raped and murdered a 64-year-old woman, Theresia Tsuses, at Otjimbingwe in the Karibib district on 24 January 2012. The prosecution is alleging that Tsuses was strangled with a piece of clothing, and that she was raped or that her assailant left her with her private parts exposed.

Gariseb is also accused of having tried to rape and strangle a young woman at Otjimbingwe on the same day that Tsuses was killed.

The young woman testified yesterday that she was 26 years old at the time of the incident on 24 January 2012. She said she was at her father’s house, where she is living, when she saw someone outside.

She encountered Gariseb when she went out of the house, she said. He entered the yard and told her that he would rape and kill her, and when she moved away from him she noticed that his erect manhood was exposed, she told the court.

She said he made a remark about her private parts and that he grabbed her by her brassiere with his one hand, while he put his other hand on her throat. She saw that the man had a mark on his forehead and tattoos on his arm.

The witness identified Gariseb where he was sitting in the dock as the man who had attacked her. Gariseb also has tattoos on both of his arms.

She said she tried to free herself from Gariseb’s grip and succeeded when she hit him on his private parts with her elbow. Her dogs then came to her assistance and she and the animals gave chase after her attacker when he ran away from the scene.

Gariseb ran off in the direction of the Swakop River, which goes through Otjimbingwe, she said. While pursuing him, she saw him running past Tsuses, who was walking in the company of a child, she said.

The witness added that she was on her way to the police station at Otjimbingwe to report the incident later that day when she heard that Tsuses had been killed.

During cross-examination Siyomunji pointed out to the witness that parts of her testimony could not be found in the first statement that she made to the police on the day after the alleged attack on her. Those omissions from her statement are an indication that she was not telling the court the truth, Siyomunji charged.

The reply from the witness was that the version that she had given to the police was the same as the one she had given during her testimony, but that it appeared that the police officer who recorded her statement did not write down everything she had said.

The trial is continuing. State aocate Cliff Lutibezi is prosecuting.

Source : The Namibian