Cloete guilty of knife murder

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Roland Routh

Windhoek-Judge Dinah Usiku yesterday convicted a man accused of breaking into the room of his former girlfriend and stabbing her eight times with a knife.

The charges he was convicted on are housebreaking with intent to murder and murder with direct intent.
The judge noted the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Eben Cloete, 38, was the one who broke into the house of Anna Nadia Coetzee’s father, kicked or forced open her locked bedroom door and killed her.

Coetzee was killed at the house of her father at Neudamm experimental farm on August 13, 2009.
Judge Usiku rejected Cloete’s alibi defence that he was not at the house when the deceased was murdered on that day as he had left early for a distant farm in search of employment.

“The accused’s testimony of not having been on the crime scene on August 13, 2009 and that he left his home to seek employment on a distant farm is clearly false, because prior to the deceased’s body being discovered by Martha Afrikaner and Sofia Losper they saw the accused bare-chested. In fact the accused told them what he had done at the deceased’s house,” said Judge Usiku.

She added that although the State’s case was based on circumstantial evidence, the cumulative effect of all the evidence proved the accused’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

According to the judge, the accused lied about having left his home in search of employment, lied about where he was arrested, and lied about not having met the witnesses that saw him at the house of the deceased shortly before her murder. This, she said, could only lead to one conclusion: that Cloete was the one who stabbed the deceased and left her in a pool of blood in which their eleven-month-old child was found playing.

Afrikaner testified that when she arrived at the murder scene she found the baby playing in the blood surrounding his dead mother.

The judge further said that although it was not necessary for the State to prove a motive for the killing of the deceased, evidence led by Edward Gaeb was that the accused and the deceased were involved in an argument the day before the killing.

“Death threats were made against the deceased,” the judge noted and continued: “These threats were of a serious nature which prompted Martha Afrikaner to inform the deceased’s parents in order for them to report a case with the police. The deceased’s father tried to call the police but he got no response on August 13, 2009, the same day the deceased’s body was discovered.”

She further said that on the issue of the accused’s intention when he stabbed the deceased, the factors to be considered are the type of weapon used, the area where the wounds were inflicted and the nature of the actual injuries sustained by the victim.

According to her, the type of weapon used – a knife – the area where the blows were directed, the chest area – a vulnerable part of the body – and the number of stab wounds, eight, led only to the conclusion that the accused had the direct intention to kill the deceased when he stabbed her.

Judge Usiku postponed the trial to October 10 for pre-sentencing proceedings and remanded Cloete in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility trial-awaiting section.

Milton Engelbrecht appeared for Cloete and State Advocate Palmer Khumalo for the State.

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