Pensioner says he has no memory of wife’s murder

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-Willem Visagie Barnard, a 64-year-old farmer from the Aranos area, who pleaded not guilty to killing his 55-year-old wife with a single gunshot to the head, yesterday maintained in the Windhoek High Court that he is unable to remember the events of that tragic evening.

Speaking in Afrikaans, Barnard basically repeated what he said in a plea explanation he gave at the start of his trial, which is that he cannot remember what transpired on the night his wife, Anette Barnard, died.

According to him, he and the deceased woke up that morning as usual and had their morning coffee and breakfast and various pills, following which he commenced with his daily tasks.

His wife then asked him if she could order some alcohol with a neighbour of theirs that was supposed to bring them a deep freezer from Aranos that morning. After the neighbour left he and the deceased proceeded to imbibe brandy while watching TV.

According to the accused, after he had at least five triple tots of brandy he informed his wife that he needed to go to a post on the farm to switch on a machine. After apparently struggling for several hours to start the said machine without success, he returned home to find his wife still on the couch in front of the TV, and continued to drink “three more shots of brandy”.

“Teen daai tyd was ons alreeds op die stasie,” Barnard said, using an Afrikaans expression for being quite drunk, or in the course of becoming so. He thereafter decided to take a shower and later returned to the sitting room, where he smoked a cigarette, Barnard narrated to the court.

“After that I must have passed out, because when I woke up again I saw my wife lying with her head on the table with a stain next to her, Barnard stated.

“At first I thought it was alcohol that spilled, but I must have touched it and realised it was blood.”

He said he then saw the revolver lying between him and the deceased on the floor and took the phone that was next to him and called his daughter, but his son-in-law answered.

According to Barnard, he can recall saying something like: “Your mother has been shot,” whereafter his son-in-law told him not to touch anything and to leave everything as it was.
“I then went outside and sat on a bench smoking and that is the last I can remember, he told the court.

He denied having an argument with the deceased and told the court he and the deceased had an understanding to never go to sleep angry with each other.

“I asked her that morning if we could make love that night and she to this day hasn’t answered me,” Barnard informed the court.

According to Barnard, he cannot recall what exactly he said to his son-in-law nor can he remember handling the revolver on the night in question, nor did he hear any gunshot.

Barnard is represented by Advocate Louis Botes on instructions from SC Garbers. Advocate Palmer Khumalo assisted by Cliff Luthibezi is prosecuting. Judge Naomi Shivute is on the bench.

Barnard is out on bail. The case continues.

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