Keetmans Man Guilty of Murder, Rape

GUILTY of six crimes, including murder, rape, kidnapping and robbery, is the verdict in the trial of Keetmanshoop area resident Marius Thomas.

More than two years and four months after the start of his trial in the Windhoek High Court, Thomas (28) heard yesterday that Judge Nate Ndauendapo has convicted him of murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery with aggravating circumstances, indecent assault and unlawful use of property.

Thomas was found guilty on all of the charges he was facing. On only one charge, which was a count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, Judge Ndauendapo found it had not been proven that he assaulted and killed a colleague of his in order to steal a Ford Courier bakkie from him. However, the judge still convicted him on a lesser charge of unlawful use of property on that count.

Thomas is due to return to court at the start of next week for the hearing of possible further evidence and oral arguments before he will be sentenced.

Thomas was charged with counts of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances, alternatively unlawful use of property, in connection with events around the death of a work colleague, Likius Ngesheya (44), at farm Kaalvlakte in the Bethanie district during the night of 25 to 26 February 2008.

He was also accused of having raped a woman at a farm close to Keetmanshoop, and robbing, kidnapping and indecently assaulting the same woman, on 3 August 2009.

Thomas claimed during his trial that he had assaulted Ngesheya in self-defence by hitting him with a wooden handle of a pickaxe after Ngesheya had entered his house at night. He and Ngesheya had been involved in an argument shortly before that incident, and he thought he could see a shiny object in his colleague’s hand when Ngesheya entered his house, Thomas told the court.

Judge Ndauendapo found there was no legal justification for Thomas’ assault on Ngesheya, who was struck repeatedly with a pickaxe handle – also after he had been felled by the first blow, which was directed at his head. On Thomas’ own version, the argument between him and Ngesheya was over by the time Ngesheya entered his house, the judge noted. He found there was no danger to Thomas’ life or imminent threat against him at the time he hit Ngesheya, who was unarmed.

Even if Thomas had acted in private defence, he clearly exceeded the bounds of self-defence, Judge Ndauendapo found.

The judge agreed with defence lawyer Monty Karuaihe that there was no evidence showing the assault on Ngesheya had been meant to enable Thomas to take their employer’s Ford bakkie out of his colleague’s possession. Thomas’ version that he took the bakkie and drove to Keetmanshoop to report the incident was possible, it was found.

In respect of the charges of rape, kidnapping, indecent assault and robbery with aggravating circumstances that Thomas faced, Judge Ndauendapo noted that Thomas’ version was that he did not see the complainant in respect of those charges on the day of the incident. However, DNA evidence linked him to sexual contact with the complainant, who told the court that Thomas attacked her at her home and raped her after he had tied up her daughter and threatened to rape the child.

After he had raped her, he drove to Keetmanshoop with her bakkie, taking her with him, the complainant testified. She said she managed to jump out of the bakkie and call for help when Thomas stopped at a service station at the town.

The complainant knew Thomas and told the court that she recognised him, the judge recounted. He found the complainant to have been a credible witness. Thomas’ evidence in respect of the charges flowing from that incident was “riddled with contradictions and lies”, though, Judge Ndauendapo said.

Thomas was free on bail on the earlier murder charge when the second incident took place. He has been kept in custody after he was again arrested on 5 August 2009.

State aocate Jack Eixab has been representing the prosecution in the trial.

Source : The Namibian