First cop on scene testifies in child murder trial

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-One of the first officers who found the lifeless bodies of the two minor boys of a former police officer, who is accused of murdering the boys, narrated the horrific find in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Dinah Usiku yesterday.

Detective Warrant Officer Gayle Shitumbuleni informed the court that she together with Detective Sergeant Humphry Sinvula Baepi went to the house of Albertus Ganeb, 31, to talk to him about a complaint they received about him sending threatening text messages.

Shitumbuleni testified that she and Baepi decided to go to Ganeb’s house after failing to convince him to meet with them to discuss the messages he sent to Festus Nekongo, whom he suspected was in a romantic relationship with the mother of his children.

Upon their arrival, Shitumbuleni said, they found the gate of the yard wide open and when they came to the door found it partially ajar. “Baepi then called out to hear if someone was in the house, looked inside the door and then immediately called me to look at something just inside the door about two metres away,” she said.

According to Shitumbuleni, she saw the body of a young boy lying in a pool of blood and she and Baepi then moved away to the outside of the yard and called the serious crime unit. After the members of the serious crime unit and the scene of crime members arrived, she accompanied them inside the house and in a room they found another boy on a bed, also in a pool of blood.

There was movement from this boy, she said, and he was taken to hospital.
While at the house of the accused, the officer continued, she received a call from Ganeb who told her: ‘You made a mistake by calling me, I have done what I have done, my girlfriend is next and then I will finish myself off later.’ After that, she said, he hung up and they went looking for the accused. When they eventually found him with the help of Romilly Swartz, the mother of the two boys, “he was walking normal”, she added.

During his plea, Ganeb claimed that he was so heavily under the influence of intoxicating liquor that he has no recollection of what happened. According to him, he was only informed by the police after his arrest that he killed his one minor child and seriously injured the other.

He is facing two charges of murder and two counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

According to the State, Ganeb stabbed his seven-year-old son, Romeo Swartz, four times on the head, killing him, on April 25, 2014, and also of stabbing his four-year-old son, Gregory Swartz, at least six times on his body and head, causing the boy to die six days later in hospital.

He is further accused of assaulting the mother of the deceased boys once in October 2013 and again in 2014.

During yesterday’s proceedings one of Ganeb’s colleagues and “close friend” informed the court that on the day in question he received a text message from Ganeb at around 12h00 in Afrikaans saying, ‘Ek gaan vandag doodgaan bra’ meaning ‘I am going to die today bro’.

According to Pasteven Kauandenge, he tried to get Ganeb to talk to him and after several messages Ganeb texted him and said: ‘Wag eers bra, ek is eers kwaad’ meaning ‘Just wait bro, I am angry’.

“There was silence for a long time and then Ganeb called me and told me: ‘I stabbed my kids with a knife and they are both dead,’” Kauandenge told the court.
According to him he told Ganeb not to make jokes and after a while Ganeb texted him saying ‘Ek grap net’ (only joking).
That was the last conversation he had with Ganeb, the witness said, and he later heard that Ganeb was arrested.
Ganeb is represented by Boris Isaacks and State Advocate Palmer Khumalo is prosecuting.

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