Murder accused suffers setback

11 June 2021 | Justice

MARC SPRINGER

WINDHOEK

One of two men accused of killing an elderly couple during a house robbery in Swakopmund almost four years ago is unlikely to escape conviction after a statement - in which he made certain admissions - was admitted into evidence during his trial this week.

In the statement accused Simon Shidute Jerobeam (27) gave to Chief Inspector Rafael Litota on the day of his arrest, he admitted that he and his former co-accused Daniel Nghilifa Stefanus (29), who escaped from custody in February 2019, went to the house of 81-year-old Siegfried and 79-year-old Sieglinde Strzelecki on 2 August 2017 around 04h00, where they hid in the yard for about two hours. When Sieglinde opened the door, they pushed her back into the house where they tied her up.

When the old woman started to scream, Stefanus took a rope and strangled her with it for about three minutes until she "got weak and was no more moving".

After that, Jerobeam continued in his statement, he went looking for the "old man to grab him also so that he cannot see what we were busy with".

They tied Siegfried up in the toilet and then Stefanus started looking for the safe keys.

When Stefanus failed to open the safe, the men decided to leave, taking valuables from the sitting room on their way out.

Jerobeam said they then went to the beach to wash their hands and clothes, which had blood on them.

Earlier warning

According to Jerobeam, he was initially contacted by Stefanus who told him he "saw a lot of money at his bosses’ house", so they decided to rob the elderly couple the next day.

During evidence, lead state witness Daphne !Nawases informed the court that Lazarus had told her that he stole the keys to the couple’s safe and asked her to obtain the keys to the residence for him. She further testified that she didn’t comply with his request, instead alerting the couple's daughter and son-in-law.

The son-in-law, Christian Hall, told Judge Christie Liebenberg that as a result of her warning, the lock to the safe was changed.

Sieglinde died on the scene, while her husband, who was admitted to hospital after the attack, suffered a stroke and died.

The prosecution is alleging that his death was a result of the attack eight days prior. As a result, the accused are charged with two counts of murder as well as housebreaking, theft, robbery with aggravating circumstances and obstructing the course of justice.

Both accused denied guilt on all charges at the start of their trial.

State advocate Tuna Nhinda is prosecuting. Jerobeam’s legal aid lawyer Tuna Nhinda withdrew from the matter on Monday, sighting conflicting instructions.

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