Windhoek-The murder trial of Charles Michael Swartz which has been on hold for more than a year returned to the Windhoek High Court yesterday with Swartz testifying about the events that led to his arrest and subsequent trial for murder.
Swartz, who was 19 years old when he allegedly killed his 15-year-old pregnant girlfriend in 2012, denied guilt on all charges he faces in the High Court before Judge Alfred Siboleka, when his trial started in March 2015.
According to the state, Swartz killed his girlfriend, Sara van der Westhuizen, a minor, who at the time was pregnant with his child on October 3, 2012 in Mariental.
Taking a roundabout route, going into detail that had nothing to do with the trial and in the process irritating Judge Siboleka, Swartz told a story of two young people that fell in love and of the interference of family in their affair.
When he at last came to the part that mattered a visibly relieved judge heard how Swartz tried to justify why he went to the residence of the deceased and not to the police after he was allegedly assaulted by relatives of the deceased.
The judge was not very impressed when Swartz tried to explain that he went to the deceased to demand from her why she sent her relatives to beat him up.
The judge asked Swartz several times why he did not go to the police instead and what, if anything, the deceased had to do with him getting beaten.
According to Swartz, on the day in question he was at the house of his uncle when the mother, aunt and stepfather of the deceased cornered him and assaulted him with a hosepipe. After he managed to get hold of a knife, he scared the people away and then went to the house of the deceased to confront her about the assault he received at the hands of her elders.
When he arrived at her house, he knocked and she came out to where he was standing next to a dustbin at the side of the house. After he asked her what she had said to her elders to calm them, she answered in a “dwars” (rude) manner that she had nothing to with it and wanted to know from him where his mother, stepfather and aunt were.
Swartz claimed the deceased then started to swear at his mother and he swore back and tried to grab her on her shirt, but she managed to break loose and run into the house, only to return with a knife which she tried to stab him with.
“I grabbed the arm she held the knife in with my left hand and took out the knife I had with me and stabbed her once in the neck, and when she turned around to run away I stabbed her two or three more times in the back,” he said.
On a question from his state-funded lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji, he answered that he stabbed her because he was angry that she wanted to stab him first.
The trial continues today and Swartz, who remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s trial-awaiting section, is under cross-examination by State Advocate Dominic Lisulo.