Three deny killing elderly farmer
16 May 2019 | Justice
Three people on trial in the High Court for the murder of Usakos farmer Willem de Klerk in October 2015 have pleaded not guilty.
The three - Karel Claasen (34), Dion Haraseb (24) and Zelda Harases (22) went on trial before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Wednesday morning.
Haraseb pleaded guilty to secondary charges of possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition, using or driving a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, and attempting to defeat the course of the administration of justice.
The first State witness in the case, Emmelda Tsamases, testified that Claasen and Harases had arrived at her house in Windhoek a few days after the murder. According to her, Claasen told her that “something big” had happened at the farm and that he was scared to report the incident to the police at Karibib or Usakos.
Tsamases said Claasen told her that Haraseb had shot the elderly farmer in his farmhouse on 19 October.
All three accused were employed by the victim.
De Klerk, who lived alone on the farm after his wife died earlier in 2015, was shot twice with his own firearm, which the accused had allegedly stolen from his vehicle.
It is further alleged that after the murder, the accused hid his body in an old water tank, broke into his house, stole some of his belongings and loaded them into the truck.
The loot included two rifles, gas bottles, clothes, sheep and karakul skins, food, a digital camera and cash.
They then allegedly drove off with the truck, but it broke down between Usakos and Karibib, after which they abandoned the truck and hitch-hiked to Windhoek and Swakopmund, where they were arrested.
All the stolen items, except for some of the money, were recovered by the police.
Claasen and Haraseb remain in custody at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility, while Harases is free on warning.
The late De Klerk’s farm, Villa Rosa, is located some 47 kilometres from Usakos in the Erongo Region.