Convicted Teacher Dies After Overdose

RETIRED teacher David de Jay has taken his own life, three weeks after being convicted of the murder of his wife. He died in a Windhoek hospital on Friday evening.

He was 63 years old.

De Jay was taken to hospital on Tuesday evening last week, after he had apparently taken an overdose of pills, the Namibian Correctional Service’s head of public relations, Deputy Commissioner Evy January, said over the weekend.

De Jay was detained in Windhoek Central Prison.

January confirmed that De Jay died on Friday evening. He had written a suicide note before he took the overdose of medication, she said.

The circumstances of his apparent suicide would now be investigated internally by the prison service.

With his death De Jay has escaped being sentenced on the charges on which Judge Alfred Siboleka convicted him on 24 April – three days after De Jay turned 63 years of age while being a trial-awaiting prisoner. De Jay, who was a retired teacher, was scheduled to return to the Windhoek High Court tomorrow for the hearing of further evidence and arguments in preparation for his sentencing on charges of murder and defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

Throughout his trial, De Jay denied guilt on the two charges. He was accused of having murdered his wife, Tina de Jay (56), near Seeheim, south-west of Keetmanshoop, on 13 February 2009. Mrs De Jay died after she had been stabbed in the chest with a knife.

During his trial, which started in June 2011, the court heard that De Jay gave differing versions of the events around his wife’s death in the immediate aftermath of the incident and over the weeks that followed, during which he was in police custody at Keetmanshoop.

During his trial, De Jay claimed he had found his wife lying next to their car with a knife stuck in her chest after he had seen two unknown men running away from the car at a lay-by next to the B4 road near Seeheim, where he and his wife had gone for a picnic next to the Fish River.

In the judgement in which he found De Jay guilty, Judge Siboleka dismissed that version of De Jay, which he described as a false story that sent the police off on a search of ghost suspects.

Relying on testimony that was given by two lorry drivers who drove past the scene where Mrs De Jay was killed, Judge Siboleka concluded that one of the drivers had seen De Jay stabbing his wife, while a second driver later saw De Jay throwing the knife away into the veld.

One of the versions of about the incident that De Jay gave after his arrest was recorded by a magistrate at Keetmanshoop. De Jay told her on 16 March 2009 that he and his wife were both experiencing serious health problems and that they finally decided to make a suicide pact, which included an arrangement by her to contract hired killers to end her life. He also claimed he was on his way to end his own life by gassing when the police arrested him. De Jay disputed the correctness of that statement in his testimony during the trial, claiming that he had been instructed by police officers to make such a statement to the magistrate.

A letter that an apparently world-weary De Jay wrote to a pastor at Keetmanshoop in July 2009 was also placed before the court as part of the evidence in his trial. In that letter, De Jay gave instructions about the distribution of his belongings and his burial after his death. He also struck a depressed tone when writing about his late wife. “Even if I were to be found not guilty a thousand times, it would be a lonely, empty existence without the assistance and love of my beloved wife,” De Jay wrote. “I just cannot live without her. Without her everything just remains a senseless disorderly merry-go-round. Like stormy waves that continuously beat against the same rocks and break.”

Source : The Namibian