Suspect denies being at murder scene

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-Testifying on his own behalf, Eben Cloete, 38, on Friday vehemently denied he was anywhere near the house where his girlfriend and mother of his child was murdered.
Cloete maintains he was at the house at Neudamm Experimental Farm early that morning to fetch personal documents of his, but after he left the deceased she was still alive and he did not go back there. “The only time I went back there was after the police arrested me and took me there,” Cloete said time and again during cross-examination from State Advocate Palmer Khumalo.

During his testimony Cloete told Judge Dinah Usiku that after he left the house of the deceased he went to another farm to look for work and it was while there that he was arrested by Inspector Klazen and two farmworkers.

On a question from his state-funded lawyer, Milton Engelbrecht, whether he had made any threatening remarks towards the deceased or her family, Cloete answered with an emphatic “no”.

The father of the deceased, August Groenewaldt, earlier testified that Cloete said on the morning of that fateful day: “’Today you people will see’, before he entered the kitchen with a knife that he washed at the kitchen zinc.”

Cloete denied this and also denied he told two elderly ladies that he had done the deed and that they should go and see. Both Sofie Losper and Martha Afrikaner testified they came across Cloete who was bare-chested and wearing only one “plakkie” (sandal) when they were on their way to the house the deceased shared with her father.

Cloete further strongly denied he met the two ladies or any of the other state witnesses that were at the scene. On a question from Khumalo as to why the witnesses would say they saw him when they did not, he said: “I don’t know. Only the Almighty can see in their hearts to know why they would say such things.”

Cloete also in the strongest terms denied he was bare-chested and barefoot. According to him, he was wearing takkies and a T-shirt that day – during and after his arrest. On Thursday Engelbrecht put investigating officer Warrant Officer Job through the ringer during cross-examination, as Engelbrecht flat-out accused the officer of doing shoddy work on the investigation.

He wanted to know why no photos were taken of the accused after he was arrested to show he was bare-chested or barefoot, as was claimed. He also wanted to know why no blood was taken from the body of the deceased to compare it with the blood found on a knife that was recovered inside the yard.

Engelbrecht also demanded to know why no fingerprints were taken inside the room and, especially, at the window since it is a disputed fact whether the window was open. Job could only say he did not think it necessary, or that he could not comment which irked Engelbrecht even more.

Cloete is charged with one count of housebreaking with the intent to murder and murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act 4 of 2003 for allegedly breaking open the bedroom door of Anna Nadia Coetzee at Neudamm on Thursday, August 13, 2009 with the intent to murder her and then intentionally killed Coetzee by stabbing her at least eight times with a sharp object in her chest before fleeing the scene.

The case will continue on July 11 for submissions on the verdict. Cloete meanwhile remains in custody.

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