Deceased’s mother weeps during testimony

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-The mother of a girl who was 15 years old and pregnant when she was killed could not contain her tears when she described her daughter’s last day on earth.

Lena van der Westhuizen cried softly into her handkerchief in the Windhoek High Court yesterday and on Monday when she narrated to Judge Alfred Siboleka the events that unfolded on October 3, 2012 when she found her daughter’s body.

Charles Michael Swartz stands accused of killing his girlfriend, Sara van der Westhuizen, a minor, who at the time was pregnant with his child, on October 3, 2012 in Mariental.

She told the court how she was against the relationship from the beginning, but her daughter defied her and went to stay with Swartz when she chased Swartz out of her house.

According to her, during 2008 she returned from Windhoek where she stayed with her now deceased husband in hospital, to find Swartz staying in her house with her then 12-year-old daughter. After she chased Swartz, whom she constantly referred to as “Raka”, from her house the deceased left with him. When she heard during 2012 that her daughter, who was 15 at the time, was pregnant with the child of Swartz, she went to the Women and Child Protection Unit at Mariental to lay a charge against Swartz, the distraught mother said.

According to her, Swartz was only warned by members of the unit to stop assaulting the girl and to assist her after she gave birth.

Van der Westhuizen testified that on the day of her daughter’s murder, she and her sister and another friend went to the house where Swartz lived to collect a hat and plate of hers.

While they were still at that house she received a call from her brother telling to go back home as her daughter was stabbed, she told the court. When they arrived back at her house she saw her daughter lying there in a pool of blood and she passed out, only to regain consciousness in the hospital, Van der Westhuizen narrated.

Swartz, who was 19 years old when he killed the deceased in 2012, denied guilt on all charges he faces in the High Court before Judge Alfred Siboleka when his trial started in March 2015.

In a plea explanation his lawyer Mbanga Siyomunji submitted to the court Swartz admitted he stabbed the deceased and that she died as a result of the stab wounds.
He however claims he acted in self-defence.

He claims the deceased attacked him first with the intention to injure him and he stabbed her to stop her from killing him.

During the trial so far the judge heard evidence from a police officer who said he found Swartz in a room at his mother’s residence with a nylon rope and suicide letter in his pocket. A police officer attached to the Woman and Child Protection Unit also testified she warned Swartz on the day of the incident to stay away from the deceased.

The case continues and he remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility wing for trial-awaiting prisoners.

Dominic Lisulo appears for the State.

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