The woman who allegedly stabbed her estranged husband to death and then burned his body in his car was yesterday still without a lawyer after she fired her last State-funded lawyer.
Rachel Elizabeth Rittmann, 45, informed Judge Christi Liebenberg at her previous pre-trial hearing in the Windhoek High Court that she does not want a State lawyer to represent her when she dismissed Milton Engelbrecht and that she wants to apply for a legal aid lawyer.
It appears the accused did not understand that a legal aid lawyer is someone appointed by the State to defend an accused person.
Yesterday her case was postponed to September 15 for her to be afforded the services of another legal aid lawyer.
Judge Naomi Shivute made the order on behalf of Judge Christi Liebenberg, who was unavailable. The judge told Rachel she has the right to apply for a legal aid lawyer if her family cannot afford to enlist the services of private legal counsel.
Rachel and her alleged helper and lover, Rhyno Richardo du Preez, 32, each face one count of murder, read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
The State alleges they fatally stabbed Rittmann’s husband, Rudolph Henry Rittmann, at his home in Gobabis and then drove the body in his vehicle to a secluded spot in the veld, where they set the car on fire with the body inside.
They allegedly did this to create the impression the deceased was incinerated after his car was involved in an accident.
Du Preez is the first accused and is represented by Boris Isaacks, while the second accused, Rittmann, was represented by Engelbrecht – both on the ticket of legal aid.
Rittmann is being held at Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is being held at Windhoek Correctional Facility’s holding cells.
The remains of Rittmann, 35, were found a few days after the incident in his car a few kilometres from Hosea Kutako International Airport, along the Windhoek-Gobabis road.
According to police records and the indictment, the Rittmann couple had marital problems, which would often lead to temporary separation stints during 2012 and 2013.
It is suspected the two accused in the matter plotted the man’s murder and worked together to that effect.
It is alleged on August 23, 2013, Rachel allegedly fed her husband unidentified tablets in a drink, which caused him to become drowsy and lose concentration. She allegedly then called in Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, to kill Rudolf.
Police suspect that Rudolf was stabbed several times all over his body with a sharp object, presumably a knife, as he lay in a state of confusion on his bed.
The two accused then allegedly loaded his body into his car and drove it up to the Kapps Farm area on the eastern outskirts of Windhoek, a few kilometres east of the police checkpoint, where the car was found burned.