South African national Wilhelm (Wimpie) Derick February, 39, pleaded not guilty to one count of murder, one count of rape or alternatively crimen injuria in the Windhoek High Court before Judge Naomi Shivute on Tuesday.
He did not enter a plea explanation and his state-funded lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji, told the court the plea is in accordance with his instructions and that the basis of the plea will become apparent during the trial.
However, during the cross-examination of two of the state witnesses, Siyomunji put it to them that February’s defence is that he was not at the scene when the victim was killed.
February stands accused of having killed 56-year-old Dinah Diedericks on June 21, 2014 at her residence in Windhoek West after he had initially raped her or exposed her private parts by removing her trouser and panties.
In their testimonies, the witnesses – Shaneen Maliza Diedericks, the daughter of the deceased and Ruchantell Rhaldine van Wyk, a friend – testified about how they discovered the partly naked body of the deceased.
According to their evidence, which was consistent throughout, they arrived at the residence of the deceased after a night out. While entering the house, a woman who rented the garage from her mother called them and told them that she was attacked by someone earlier that night. The woman, Yvonne Ruping, has since died.
They further said that after looking for the deceased for a while they found her lying face down on her stomach with a plastic bag around her head, naked from the waist down.
During cross-examination, Siyomunji told the witnesses that February admitted being at the residence of the deceased that evening, but that he left her alive and well.
According to Siyomunji, his client’s version is he and the deceased were at his engagement party that night and at the party the deceased and Ruping, who had accompanied her, got into a physical altercation which caused the deceased to bleed from her nose, which would account for the blood of the deceased being found on the jacket of the accused.
After the party February and two other guests took the deceased home in her vehicle as she was too intoxicated to drive, Siyomunji said. He further said that when they arrived at the residence of the deceased, February remained behind to ensure the deceased was safe, but she told him to rather go home, as his fiancée would be worried. That was the last time February saw the deceased, Siyomunji told the court.
The man who hosted the engagement party, Andre Tropa, a superintendent at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, took the stand and told the court that he did not see the deceased and Ruping fighting, let alone that the deceased’s nose was bleeding.
He further informed the court there was no music and no dancing as February testified as the reason how he got the deceased’s blood on his jacket. Despite Siyomunji’s best efforts to break him, Tropa was adamant in his testimony. He also informed the court that in a text message February’s girlfriend sent him, she asked him not to mention to the police that February was with him when they took the deceased home, but he refused.
In June 2014 Fredericks appeared in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court for murder and rape and the case was initially withdrawn but he was later re-arrested and the charges reinstated. State advocate Salomon Kanyemba is prosecuting and the case continues today