WINDHOEK – A young man who was 21 years old when he was arrested for the murder and rape of a young woman in Keetmanshoop’s Tseiblaagte residential area pleaded not guilty to all charges in the Windhoek High Court.
Melvin Raymond Hanse, 24, on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to committing the heinous crimes when he appeared before Judge Alfred Siboleka.
Deputy Prosecutor General Karin Esterhuizen read the two charges against him.
Dressed in a flimsy white T-shirt and Bermuda shorts he spoke in Afrikaans.
Defence counsel Joshua Kaumbi who appears for Hanse on instructions of the Legal Aid Department confirmed to the court that the plea was in accordance with his instructions. He said his client would not disclose the basis of his defence “at this stage”, but that it would become apparent during the trial.
Hanse faces one count of murder, one count of rape and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
It is alleged he killed Anna Martha Vries, who was 25 years old at the time of her demise, by stabbing her 54 times with a knife and also trying to strangle her. He is also charged with raping the deceased. It is further alleged after the rape and murder he left the scene of the crime and washed the deceased’s blood from his clothes and the knife he used in the murder. He further hid the knife in an effort to frustrate investigations into the death of the deceased.
According to the indictment, the deceased was in the company of some friends during the late night hours of February 09, 2011 when the accused called her. She allegedly joined him and they proceeded in the direction of a nightclub.
It is stated that on their way to the nightclub, Hanse grabbed the deceased and stabbed and strangled her before raping her. The deceased died on the scene as a result of the multiple stab wounds. So far three witnesses have testified for the State.
The first witness, Hulda Fredericks, who is the sister of the deceased testified that she left the deceased in the company of Hanse on that fateful night. She said that after they visited a bar called Fire Fighting, they were on their way home when the accused called the deceased to him.
She and other friends who were with her and the deceased then went on alone after the deceased told them to go ahead, as she would catch up.
That was the last time she saw her sister alive, Fredericks told the court. The second witness was the police officer to whom Hanse made certain pointings out including the place where he allegedly stabbed her several times.
Next to testify was Johanna Houman who told the court she saw the deceased in the company of Hanse on that night. According to her, she and a friend were at Fire Fighting where they met the accused and the deceased who seemed very friendly with each other. At one stage, she said, the deceased was seated on the lap of the accused chatting.
After they consumed some beer, they decided to go home as it was late, she said. While on their way she saw the accused and deceased walking together, holding hands the witness testified.
The case continues and Hanse remains in custody.
By Roland Routh