Gobabis woman gets life sentence for masterminding husband’s murder

Gobabis resident Rachel Rittmann was in August this year found guilty of having masterminded the planning and the actual killing of her husband, Rudolf Henry Rittmann, in August 2013, was on Tuesday sentenced to life imprisonment.

Rachel, 49, and her ex-lover ex-lover Ryno du Preez, 35, were each found guilty on charges of murder with direct intention to kill, conspiracy to commit murder and defeating or obstructing the course of justice in a judgement handed down by Judge Liebenberg on 29 August 2019 in respect of the circumstances that led to death of Rudolf on 23 August 2013.

Rachel, alone, was further found guilty on a lesser charge of theft after the prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt through the presentation of the State witnesses' evidence that she was found in unlawful possession of her late husband's wallet and a mobile phone shortly after the commission of the offence.

On the first charge of murder with direct intention to kill, Rachel was sentenced to life imprisonment while her former lover Du Preez was sent to jail for 30 years.

On the second charge of conspiracy to commit murder, Rachel and Du Preez were each sentenced to three (3) years imprisonment.

The two convicts each got eight (8) years on the charge defeating the course of justice when they transported the body in the deceased's own vehicle from Gobabis to an area between the Hosea Kutako International Airport and Kapps Farm in the Khomas Region, where they set the vehicle alight with the body of the victim inside in order to conceal evidence.

Rachel was further sentenced to one (1) year in respect of the charge of theft.

The sentences imposed on the counts conspiracy and theft were ordered to be served concurrently with the sentence imposed on the count of murder.

Again, half of the sentence (meaning four years) imposed on the count of defeating the course of justice was also ordered to be served concurrently with the sentence imposed on the murder count.

In the result, Rachel was sent to jail for life, plus an additional four (4) years while Du Preez was sentenced to a total custodial term of 34 years imprisonment.

Namibia's prison authorities regard a life term of imprisonment as a sentence of a minimum of 25 years in jail, and according to the Prisons Act, a prisoner has to serve half of his sentence before being considered eligible for release on parole.

High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg handed down the sentences here on Tuesday morning.

Du Preez was found guilty and punished as charged and upon his own pleas of guilty to the planning and the actual execution of the killing of the deceased, while Rachel was convicted and sentenced as a result of the truthfulness of evidence presented before court by the prosecution team.

The totality of the evidence presented before court showed that Rachel and her ex-lover conspired and acted with a common purpose in the planning and the actual execution of the killing of the deceased.

Rachel actively participated in the early planning to bring about the death of her husband in order to cash in on the inheritance (pension and insurance money) of the deceased, while Du Preez agreed to kill Rudolf by stabbing him to death with a knife at his home in Gobabis on 23 August 2013 because he was in badly love with Rachel at the time.

Legal Aid-funded defence lawyers Ileni Gebhardt and Johan van Vuuren represented the two convicts.

State Advocate Martion Olivier appeared for the prosecution.

Source: Namibia Press Agency