Barman Denies Girlfriend Murder Charge

THE injury that claimed the life of a young Windhoek woman at a birthday party for her daughter in November 2012 resulted from a single blow to her neck with a glass, according to testimony that was heard in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

“There was no quarrelling or anything really,” prosecution witness Ivan Hamaseb told Judge Christie Liebenberg on the first day of the trial of the 24-year-old Jeffrey Barman. “The accused just hit the deceased with a glass.”

The blow struck Barman’s girlfriend, Melanie Booysen (20), on her neck, Hamaseb said. “It happened so fast, I just saw that he hit her with a glass,” he said, adding that he then saw that Booysen had a cut on her neck. At first it did not look to him like the cut was deep, but he soon realised that the cut was in fact severe and that Booysen was bleeding heavily, Hamaseb said.

Barman and Booysen had been in a conversation about the state of meat that was being barbecued before Barman hit her on the neck with the glass from which he was drinking, Hamaseb told the judge.

Booysen died at the scene.

Barman yesterday went on trial on counts of murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with the incident dating from the afternoon of 10 November 2012. He pleaded not guilty to those three charges.

He is also facing counts of attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm flowing from an incident that occurred on 9 August 2013 – three months after he had been released on bail of N$3 000 on the earlier charges.

In respect of the second incident, Barman is accused of having assaulted a man, Albertus Duncan, in Katutura on 9 August 2013 by hitting him on the head with a crutch. Barman is also accused of having tried to murder Duncan by stabbing him with a knife or other object.

Barman pleaded guilty to the charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm linked to the second incident, but denied guilt on the second count of attempted murder.

Defence lawyer Willem Visser told Hamaseb during cross-examination that according to Barman it was actually Booysen who directed a blow at him with a glass that she had in her hand and that he blocked the blow, pushed Booysen’s hand back at her, and in that process the glass broke and she received a cut to her neck, Visser said.

Hamaseb disputed the correctness of Barman’s version of events.

Barman’s sister, Heidi Barman, told the court that her brother and Booysen appeared to be at the point of getting into a quarrel next to a barbecue at the back of her parents’ house, where a birthday party for the couple’s daughter was being held, when she tried to get her brother away from Booysen so that he could first cool off.

He did not want to go with her, though, and she was about to step into the house when she heard a female scream behind her, she said. She did not know if it was Booysen or her mother who had screamed, she said, but when she turned around her eyes fell on Booysen’s neck, from where blood was flowing.

She ran to get someone to call an ambulance, she said.

Hamaseb’s girlfriend, Sonnetha Tjipukapuka, who was also at the birthday party, testified that she saw Booysen staggering from the back of the house towards the front, with blood spurting from her neck, after Barman’s sister had raised the alarm about Booysen having been injured.

Booysen collapsed to the ground after she had walked a small distance, Tjipukapuka recalled. She said the sight of her friend in such a condition horrified her to such an extent that she turned and ran to a neighbouring house to call an ambulance and the police.

Heidi Barman further told the court that after Booysen had fallen to the ground her brother tried to approach her and offered to take her to a hospital. By then, people at the scene were hysterical and Booysen’s father refused the offer, calling Barman a “child of a dog” who had slaughtered his daughter, she said.

The police and an ambulance arrived at the scene after a wait of about 45 minutes, the court was told. By then, Booysen already appeared to be lifeless.

The trial is due to continue on Friday.

Barman is being kept in custody since the incident in August 2013.

Source : The Namibian