Slippery ‘killer’ escapes Stinkwater mob

As at sunset yesterday, the search party had not yet caught the alleged serial rapist, accused of a gruesome killing at the sleepy settlement.

15 December 2021 | Crime

JEMIMA BEUKES







STINKWATER

A 32-year-old man found himself running for his life yesterday when a mob of villagers set after him to punish him for the alleged rape, murder and mutilation of 23-year-old Lydia !Kharises, whose body was discovered on a riverbank at the Stinkwater settlement just outside Dordabis on Monday morning.

In an unprecedented move, the formerly tranquil community of Stinkwater elders and children chased after the suspect, crisscrossing the Schaap River and up and around the Auas mountains and hills.

Members of the community said what angered them most was that the suspect showed up at the deceased’s home yesterday morning to gape at her grieving family.

It is believed the suspect lured !Kharises from a wedding that took place at the settlement on Friday evening, leading her into the bushes where he had his way with her and killed her.

The victim’s mother Katrina !Kharises said the last time they saw her was when she entered her grandmother’s shack around 20:00 on Friday evening, asking for tobacco to ‘swaai ‘n zol’ – roll her own cigarette. She then informed them that she was going to the wedding.

Speaking on behalf of the deceased’s distraught mother, Imelda Hochobes said they looked for the deceased on Saturday and Sunday after she failed to return from the wedding.

“And then on Monday, a colleague of Katrina crossed the river and saw the body of a person. The feet were swollen a lot and the intestines were taken out. He then called people to come look, who recognised her and told her mother - who was on her way home - not to come to the scene,” she said.

‘We live in fear’

A mother of two, a two-year -old and a 10-month-old toddler, !Kharises returned to Stinkwater a fortnight ago from the vicinity of Daan Viljoen district where she worked as debusher, complaining that she was unhappy at her workplace.

“We live in absolute fear. We are told that this guy [the suspect] raped a woman in Windhoek and he is also suspected of a rape here at Stinkwater a few months ago. “The guys are killing us and they are raping us but they just go in and out of prison. We cannot sleep at night because we fear for ourselves and our daughters,” Hochobes said.

Neighbours who spoke on condition of anonymity told Namibian Sun that the suspect has been ‘in and out of jail’ and is a very aggressive man, feared by the settlement’s teenage girls.

Wash away my sins

Meanwhile, Katrina Esmerelda Rooi, the suspect’s girlfriend, said he returned home that fateful evening in the wee hours of the morning to take a bath, which is completely out of the ordinary.

Even stranger, she said, was that the next day, he washed the clothes he wore the previous evening, despite them still being practically clean.

“He came home drunk on Friday evening and started quarrelling with me but I ignored him and turned around. He then took a ‘knobkierie’ and hit me in the back. He left and walked to the wedding and returned around 05:00 the next morning. “Saturday I stayed with my aunts, and he came to get the keys. In that time, he went to change the clothes he wore the previous night, a black Ellis short and a blue dotted T-shirt. Yesterday [Monday] morning, we came to the river when we heard that a body was found. While we stood there, he was at home and my aunt was the first one to return home.

“When she walked past our house, she saw him doing laundry and hanging up the clothes he was wearing on Saturday evening,” she narrated.

Rooi said did not pay it much mind, but when they sat as a group of village women, she found it strange that he suddenly took a liking to laundry, something he has never done during their time together.

“It was very strange for me because I usually do his laundry for him, so I went back home and started searching the house. I found that that the clothes he wore on Friday evening were gone and he was gone too,” she said.

Rooi is currently pregnant with the suspect’s child and said he had recently returned from Windhoek, where he is allegedly wanted for a rape case.

Police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Kauna Shikwambi, said at this stage they are searching for the suspect and cannot comment on the alleged rape cases pending against him.

“We also do not know at this point who he is. We are still searching. We brought in the police helicopter to help with the search because of the way the body was mutilated,” she said.

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