Wasn’t me: Lichtenstrasser denies gunning down bosses

The 58-year-old Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology employee pleaded not guilty to all charges, vehemently denying six and keeping mum on the two counts of murder.

16 February 2021 | Justice

NAMPA







WINDHOEK

An employee of the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (Nimt) - currently on trial in the High Court for the alleged murder of the institution’s two top managers during 2019 - yesterday denied committing the brutal offence.

Ernst Josef Lichtenstrasser (58) denied committing the murders at the start of his trial before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg when he entered pleas of not guilty to eight counts he is facing in connection with the incident, which claimed the lives of executive director Eckhart Mueller and his deputy Heimo Hellwig on 15 April 2019 at Arandis in the Erongo Region.

Lichtenstrasser, through his Legal Aid-instructed defence lawyer Norbert Titus, pleaded not guilty to the two counts of murder, a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm without a licence, a count of unlawful possession of ammunition, and a charge of defeating or obstructing the administration of justice for allegedly having buried a 9mm pistol in the sand in the desert near Arandis.

He also pleaded not guilty to the theft of a firearm, unlawful possession of a shotgun without a licence and the unlawful supplying of another firearm and ammunition to a certain Immanuel Angula.

Keeping mum

Regarding the two counts of murder, Lichtenstrasser kept mum and did not expand on his not guilty pleas.

He, however, vehemently denied any knowledge of the remaining six charges and strongly challenged the prosecution to prove the veracity of each and every element of these charges.

In her testimony before court yesterday, Sabina Hellwig, wife of the deceased deputy director, confirmed that the accused was indeed employed by Nimt in the capacity of an instructor at the institution’s fitting and turning workshop at the Tsumeb campus at the time of the incident.

She also told the court that she was also employed by Nimt at its Arandis campus and was the head of the library services and responsible for supplementary subjects.

Mueller and Hellwig were allegedly shot at close range when they arrived at the institute’s Arandis campus between 06h00 and 06h30 on 15 April 2019.

Their bodies were found by a hostel matron who heard the gunshots and rushed to the centre’s entrance.

Lichtenstrasser remains in police custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility with no option to post bail pending the continuation of the trial today.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef is appearing for the State in the matter.

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