Ex-lovers guilty of murder

30 August 2019 | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITH



Rachel Rittmann (48) and her former lover, Rhyno du Preez (35), have been found guilty of plotting the murder of her husband, Rudolph Henry Rittmann, in Gobabis six years ago and then dumping his body and setting his car alight.

High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg yesterday convicted the two now seemingly estranged former lovers of murder, conspiracy to murder and attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.

He acquitted them of robbery with aggravating circumstances, but convicted Rittmann of theft because she was found in possession of her husband’s cellphone and wallet after her arrest.

The two had met on Facebook in May 2012 when Du Preez was 28 and Rittmann was 42, and estranged from her husband at the time. She had later returned her husband, with whom she was living at the time of the murder on 23 August 2013.

In his judgment, Liebenberg said the motive for the murder was likely twofold: financial gain and making room for the couple’s relationship with Rittmann’s husband out of the way.

Rittmann and Du Preez had both been suspended from a cash-loan company months before the murder, on allegations of fraud and theft of close to N$200 000. Rittmann had been arrested and was out on bail at the time of the murder.

In the week before the murder, Rittmann had put in motion changes to a joint will and a life-insurance policy from which she anticipated to benefit on the death of her husband.

The judge further noted that with Rittmann’s husband dead, he would be “out of the way”, allowing the former couple to continue their relationship. “This they did,” he said.

Together

Liebenberg said although the two accused had given different versions of the events leading up to and following the murder, the evidence “overwhelmingly favoured” Du Preez’s version.

Du Preez admitted that he had stabbed Rudolph Rittmann in his bed on 23 August, but said the plot to kill him had been masterminded by Rachel Rittmann, and that he was vulnerable to her instructions because of his deep feelings for her. Nevertheless, he admitted to the court that they both plotted the murder and carried out that plan together.

Rittmann denied having been involved in the plot to kill her husband, and placed the blame squarely on Du Preez. She justified her involvement by claiming that she was afraid of Du Preez, who had acted violently towards her, and that she feared he would blame her for the murder.

Du Preez admitted that he had stabbed Rittmann’s husband multiple times in the chest, while Rittmann, who had brought him the knife, stood by.

She had ensured that her daughter and tenant would not be at home, and that her husband was asleep when Du Preez arrived.

Together they cleaned the bedroom in which the murder took place, bundled her husband’s body into his bakkie, and then Du Preez drove the car to a spot on the main road between Gobabis and Windhoek near Kapps Farm.

He poured petrol into the vehicle and set it alight with the body inside, including towels and bed linen from the crime scene, in an attempt to stage an accident and cover up the murder.

They two were arrested on 1 September 2013, during an early-morning police raid in which they were found together in bed at a house in Windhoek, with Rittmann initially trying to hide beneath the covers.

No support

Liebenberg said Rittmann’s version, in which she denied having been involved in the plan to kill her husband, and that she was forced to participate due to her fear of Du Preez, was not “borne out by her conduct after her husband’s killing.”

Liebenberg said she remained in contact with Du Preez after the murder, exchanged Sim cards to avoid their calls being traced, and fabricated evidence of her husband’s health in order to create the impression that her husband had suffered a heart attack while driving.

Liebenberg emphasised that Rittmann had failed to take any opportunity to report the crime to the police, neglected to call for help and later denied any knowledge of the matter when the police contacted her.

Similar News

 

Covid delays Möller murder trial

20 hours ago | Justice

ERWIN LEUSCHNERSWAKOPMUNDThe start of the murder trial of the five men accused of murdering Walvis Bay businessman Hans-Jörg Möller in 2016 has been delayed until...

Gertze's attempted murder case withdrawn

4 days ago - 18 September 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKNamibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) CEO Franz Gertze is off the hook after the Office of the Prosecutor-General declined to prosecute him for a shooting...

Estate agent guilty of stealing Congolese general's money

6 days ago - 16 September 2020 | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITHWINDHOEKA Swakopmund estate agent accused of stealing US$900 000 (N$6.7 million) from a Democratic Republic of Congo military general ten years ago has been...

Fishrot 7 could be released

1 week ago - 15 September 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKA magistrate yesterday thinly suggested the court might have no further reason to keep the Fishrot accused in custody if investigators do not wrap...

Masule ruling on 28 September

1 week ago - 11 September 2020 | Justice

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKGovernment attorneys yesterday argued that the High Court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the urgent application brought by Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC)...

'Strike Fishrot case from the court roll'

1 week ago - 11 September 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEK Trevor Brockerhoff, the lawyer representing former Investec manager Ricardo Gustavo, has asked the Windhoek Magistrate's Court to consider striking the Fishrot...

Bribery saga accused make renewed plea for freedom

1 week ago - 10 September 2020 | Justice

OGONE TLHAGE WINDHOEKLawyers representing the Fishrot accused have asked the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court to provisionally release their clients, as the State cannot...

Court grants husband bail after wife dies in 'scuffle'

1 week ago - 10 September 2020 | Justice

NAMPAGOBABISThe Gobabis Magistrate's Court on Monday granted bail of N$2 000 to Fritz Paul, who allegedly killed his wife during a scuffle at Farm Kroonster.Court...

Con man sues for N$5m

2 weeks ago - 08 September 2020 | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITHWINDHOEK A Hardap prison inmate and South African citizen convicted on multiple charges of fraud has filed a N$5 million lawsuit against...

Woman sues after AK-47 beating by soldier

2 weeks ago - 07 September 2020 | Justice

JANA-MARI SMITHWINDHOEKA new lawsuit brought by a civilian against the Namibian police and army centres around an alleged savage attack by a soldier who beat...

Latest News

Copper struggles on virus resurgence

20 hours ago | Business

Copper prices eased back yesterday from the highest levels in more than two years as Covid-19 cases surged, threatening to curb economic activity and metals...

'Broke' Edgars won't dent Oryx...

20 hours ago | Business

Oryx Properties has shielded itself against possible vacant space in Maerua Mall resulting from Edcon's bankruptcy protection by reaching a lease agreement with South African-based...

Teenager raped in quarantine

20 hours ago | Crime

JEMIMA BEUKES AND ADOLF KAURESWAKOPMUND/WINDHOEKSwakopmund State Hospital driver, 26-year-old Glenn Clifford Leister, has been denied bail by the local magistrate's court after appearing in connection...

Covid-19: Partying Namibians throw caution...

20 hours ago | Health

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKNamibians have thrown caution to the wind and are failing to adhere to regulations without being policed, after the Covid-19 state of emergency...

Swapo's Wakudumo and Shinduvi face...

20 hours ago | Politics

Kenya KamboweRUNDUThe Swapo Kavango East regional executive committee (REC) passed a motion of no confidence in the region's coordinator Ottilie Shinduvi and the regional mobiliser...

Kauhaie wins the crown

20 hours ago | Youth

Irene-Mari van der Walt Swakopmund • [email protected] the cancellation of the Mr Teen Swakopmund 2020, the Miss Teen Swakopmund 2020 pageant went ahead at...

Declining repo rate supports domestic...

20 hours ago | Business

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUThe Bank of Namibia (BoN) and the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) have cut the repo rate several times since both countries announced states...

Government availing shacks humiliating

20 hours ago | Opinion

In January 2019, President Hage Geingob described shacks (corrugated iron homes) as a 'humanitarian crisis'. “We have a crisis where human beings are staying in...

World Tourism Day

20 hours ago | People

Michael ShagandjwaThe country should establish more unique heritage attractions that reflect our country’s background. Create an interesting image with reservations that are worth viewing and...

Load More