Windhoek – A Keetmanshoop resident accused of killing the six-year-old adopted son of his live-in girlfriend at Keetmanshoop between October 31 and November 1, 2013, denied guilt on all charges yesterday in the Windhoek High Court before Acting Judge Boas Usiku.
It is alleged Desmond Cornelius Vries, 31, killed six-year-old Curtus Shille van der Westhuizen by hitting him, kicking him and/or strangling him while the child was in his care. He also faced two charges of assault by threat by allegedly threatening to kill Florencia Florida Piete on two separate occasions.
Vries, dressed casually in jeans and a shirt, answered not guilty through a Damara/Nama interpreter to each of the charges State Advocate Simba Nduna put to him. His state-funded lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, confirmed the pleas are in accordance with his instructions and informed the court that his client does not wish to enter any plea explanation.
He said Vries elects to remain silent and not divulge his defence and put the state to prove each and every allegation against him.
After the pleas were entered, Nduna called the doctor who performed the autopsy on the deceased, Dr Maksym Verushka, to the stand. Verushka explained his post-mortem findings to the court and said the boy died as a result of “neck strangulation”. According to Verushka, severe force was used to strangle the deceased with the effect that blood vessels in the neck burst causing haemorrhage under the skin and among the muscles. He further said the tongue of the deceased protruded and the tip was bitten.
This was caused by the body desperately searching for oxygen, he said, and continued that all of the boy’s organs were congested due to a lack of oxygen. He said the deceased died almost immediately.
According to the indictment, Vries threatened to kill Piete on October 21, 2103, by pointing at his watch and his throat, causing her to believe he intended and had the means to carry out his threat. It was further stated in the summary of substantial facts that on October 31, 2103, he again threatened to kill her that day.
It is further stated in the indictment that Piete worked late on October 31, 2013 and arrived back at home late. It is alleged the accused hit and/or kicked and strangled the deceased to death. It is further stated that after he killed the deceased he placed the body in the bed of one of the state witnesses, Bernardus Benedictus Piete.
Vries is also suspected of the robbery and murder of Karasburg businessman, Tillian Walters, earlier this year while he was out on bail in this case. The case continues today and Vries remains in custody.