Man who cooked wife in fresh bid for freedom
02 December 2021 | Justice
A hearing to decide whether former chef Thomas Adolf Florin (54) – the man who butchered and cooked the bones of his wife in 1998 - should be released from prison almost 22 years after his incarceration began in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.
Florin, who was 31 years old when he murdered his wife Monika (30), argued he is ready for release and poses no risk to society, due in part to his conversion to Christianity and his good behaviour over the past two decades.
The High Court application seeks an order to be released immediately on automatic remission, a technically different route to release than parole which allows a prisoner’s sentence to be shortened by one third on certain conditions.
Florin said he already qualified for release after serving 15 years in 2014, and added he has been behind bars “eight years longer” than he should have been.
He has given assurances that he will return to Germany immediately upon his release.
“On this basis alone, he is no risk to the Namibian public,” arguments submitted by his legal team stated.
Florin denied guilt for more than a decade before admitting to the crime in 2013.
‘Frivolous and vexatious’
The State vehemently opposed his bid for freedom, arguing that Florin has no lawful right to be released on remission.
They further argued that Florin is attempting to bypass the more stringent parole process that guarantees prisoners are released when they are fully rehabilitated and no longer pose a danger to society. They also noted that a life sentence requires a minimum of 25 years behind bars.
They said he brought the motion for remission “either because Florin is impatient and cannot wait until he has served the minimum 25 years prescribed, or knows that he is still not ready to return to society and is still a risk to it”.
They have also asked that the court impose punitive costs against him for his “frivolous and vexatious litigation”.
The court will also consider an expert witness statement from clinical psychologist Manfred Janik, dated July 2020, in which the mental health specialist said he has treated Florin on and off since 2000.
In the latest assessment, Janik found that Florin “displayed intact behaviour over the past 20 years in prison”, and that he completed around “120 religious short courses, two years of intensive Bible school, a one-year course in Christian counselling and received a qualification in Christian psychology”.
Janik concluded that Florin can be regarded as fully rehabilitated, based on his 20-year record behind bars.
“From my extended professional contact with Mr Florin, as well as my recent evaluation with him, I found nothing on a psychological level that speaks against his speedy release from prison.”
The psychologist highlighted that Florin is concerned about his elderly mother who lives in Germany and suffers from health issues. He would like to be “reunited with her to spend some time with her”, Janik wrote.
The prisoner’s legal team further argued that denying him this right “is violating his human dignity and right to equality”, and his prolonged incarceration has subjected him to “inhumane and or degrading treatment or punishment”.
After she had been killed, Monika’s body was cut into pieces, from which most of her flesh was then removed, before her skeletal remains were cooked and baked in an apparent attempt to prevent their decomposition. The scorched skeletal remains were placed in a plastic basin and hidden in the ceiling of the couple's house.
The remains were discovered by friends of the couple who, suspicious about her sudden disappearance, decided to carry out a search at the house after Florin's departure from Swakopmund.
He had told neighbours that Monika was visiting Cape Town, but they became suspicious after visiting and noticing a big pot on the stove which they described in court as being "terribly burned".
They later found Monika's skull in a plastic bag.
Florin and the couple's two small children – then aged two and four - were on their way to catch a flight out of Namibia when he was arrested. The children were in the house when their mother was killed.
The case is being heard before High Court judge Shafimana Ueitele. Government prosecutor Mkhululi Khupe is acting on behalf of the State, while Celeste Coetzee is representing Florin.
The oral arguments in the case were concluded on Wednesday, and the case has been postponed for judgment to 25 February 2022.