Dates have been set for the trial of the woman who allegedly stabbed her estranged husband to death and then with her co-accused and lover burned his remains in his car.
The Windhoek High Court set the dates on Wednesday when Judge Christi Liebenberg informed Rachel Elizabeth Rittmann, 45, and Rhyno Richardo du Preez, 32, that their trial will start on June 19 and continue until June 31 and again from July 17 next year.
While it was not indicated who the presiding judge will be it is assumed that it will be Judge Liebenberg and that the prosecutor will be Advocate Antonia Verhoef.
The two accused 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 the course of justice.
It is alleged by the State they stabbed Rittmann’s husband Rudolph Henry Rittmann to death at his home in Gobabis and then drove the body in his vehicle to a secluded spot in the veld where they set it on fire with the body still inside.
They allegedly did this to create the impression of an accident.
Du Preez is the first accused and is represented by Boris Isaacks. Rittmann, the second accused, will be represented by Hipura Ujaha both on the ticket of legal aid. Rittmann was previously represented by Milton Engelbrecht, but she fired him because she did not want “a State lawyer”.
She apparently did not understand the difference between a State lawyer and a legal aid lawyer, but after Judge Liebenberg explained to her a legal aid lawyer is a lawyer paid by the State, she recanted and accepted the services of Ujaha.
Rittmann is being held at Klein Windhoek police station, while Du Preez is being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s holding cells.
Thirty-five-year-old Rittmann’s burned remains 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 that on August 23, 2013 Rachel allegedly fed her husband unidentified tablets in a drink, which caused her husband to become drowsy and lose concentration.
She allegedly then called in Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, to kill Rudolf. The police suspect 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 the victim’s 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 burned car was found.