Guilty on both counts of murder, but not guilty on the count of defeating the course of justice was the verdict of Judge Naomi Shivute at the end of the trial of two men accused of possibly one of the most gruesome murders in Namibia.
Raynoldt (Jacky) Windstaan and Johannes Eichab stood impassively in the dock at C Court at the Windhoek High Court listening to the judge convict them of throwing two men, who were still alive, into a disused well and leaving them to die.
They were convicted on two counts of murder for attacking 42-year-old Klaas Titus and 39-year-old John McNab during the period of 16 to 18 July 2005 in the Mariental District and throwing the victims alive into a deep and isolated well.
The well into which the bodies were discarded on farm Good Hope is impossible to escape from without assistance.
The two men’s skeletal remains were found after Windstaan allegedly pointed the well out to the police because he could no longer handle the nightmares he suffered.
Judge Shivute was not convinced the victims were dead when they were thrown into the well.
According to her, the cause of death was not determined by the findings of the post-mortem, but the doctor who performed the post-mortem did not rule out stab injuries as the possible cause of death.
She said there is evidence Titus was assaulted with an iron bar on his head and that after both victims were assaulted “they were thrown into the deep well whereby it was difficult for them to breathe whilst in the well”.
According to the judge, the victims were unable to come out of the well without assistance as they were furthermore incapacitated by the assault. “Drawing inferences from the circumstances of the case I am of the opinion that the possibility that the cause of death was contributed by the injuries they suffered due to the assault and lack of oxygen, cannot be excluded.”
“I am satisfied that death was brought about by the actions of the accused persons. Since the deceased persons died whilst they were in the well it cannot be said that the accused persons, by throwing the deceased persons into the well, had an intention to defeat or attempted to defeat or obstruct the course of justice because both accused 1 and 2, by throwing the deceased persons into the well whilst they were still alive, had intended to kill them,” she said on Wednesday.
The judge said that by first incapacitating the deceased through assault and then throwing them into a well 20 meters deep, with no means of escape without assistance, clearly showed the accused had the intention to kill the deceased in the most brutal manner.