Nimt exec shot 6 to 8 times

18 February 2021 | Justice

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

Eckhart Mueller (72), who was gunned down at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (Nimt) in Arandis on 15 April 2019, was shot between six and eight times.

This according to Dr Augusto Gawab from the Walvis Bay State Hospital, who yesterday testified in front of Judge Christie Liebenberg as a state witness in a double murder trial against Ernst Lichtenstrasser.

Lichtenstrasser, a former lecturer at the Nimt Tsumeb campus, is accused of murdering Mueller and Heimo Hellwig (60), who were the executive director and deputy director of Nimt respectively.

Gawab, who conducted the post-mortems on 17 April 2019, said Hellwig was shot three times.

According to him, in both cases, he concluded that the cause of death was head injuries, secondary to gun shots.

He said Mueller was shot two times in the head and three times in the chest, and that two bullet entry wounds were also observed in his right arm and one in his left ring finger.

It could be that the last three entry wounds were from one bullet or three separate bullets.

Only fragments of projectiles could be found in his body.

Defensive wounds

Gawab further said according to his observations, Mueller was most probably shot first in the chest and then in the head, as there were defensive wounds on his hand, indicating that he was trying to protect himself.

When shot in the head, it caused an injury to the brain and Mueller’s death would have been almost immediate, he said.

Gawab said Hellwig was shot twice in the chest and once in the head.

In this case, he said, Hellwig might have been standing as the bullets entered and exited his body from the side, which indicate that he was still alive and able to move around.

Gawab was also questioned about the fact that a witness, Getrud Noabes, testified that Hellwig was moving his hand and lips when she arrived at the scene shortly after she heard the gunshots.

This, he said, would have been uncoordinated gestures or reflexes, and not coordinated movements.

Pool of blood

Noabes is a matron supervisor at Nimt Arandis, where she has worked for 25 years.

She testified on Tuesday that she found Mueller and Hellwig in a pool of blood in front of administration building’s door on the morning of 15 April 2019.

Her cross-examination by the defence was completed yesterday.

Noabes said she saw the lights of Mueller and Hellwig’s vehicle arrive at 06:28 and two minutes later, she heard shots fired.

A security guard, Festus, who was first at the scene, came to alert her and told her that “the two deceased were lying in a pool of blood”.

While on her way to the scene, she said she phoned the Arandis police at 06:35.

At the time, she did not see anyone else apart from the security guard on campus or other vehicles she did not recognise.

Deputy prosecutor-general Antonia Verhoef is representing the state and Lichtenstrasser is represented by legal aid lawyer Albert Titus.

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