WINDHOEK – The psychiatrist who conducted a private mental assessment of murder accused Johny Rhyno Diergaardt has confirmed he had full mental capabilities when he allegedly stabbed his girlfriend 27 times with various knives at his backyard flat in Garnett Street in Khomasdal.
According to Dr Gerhard Marx, Diergaardt understood between right and wrong during the alleged incident. He said that Diergaardt had not suffered from a mental illness prior to the incident, nor is there any evidence he has suffered from one after the incident.
“He has never suffered from memory lapses before the incident and has not suffered thereof after the incident,” Marx said, adding: “It is my opinion that he understood right from wrong during the period the alleged offence occurred. I think he is able to stand trial as he was able to give me a fairly comprehensive rundown of how the trial is likely to play out.”
The psychiatrist said he found no reason from a mental health perspective why Diergaardt cannot stand trial, or to doubt his ability to understand right from wrong during the incident. This report coincided with the reports of State psychiatrist, Dr Frederika Mthoko, and private psychiatrist Dr Reinhardt Sieberhagen that also declared him fit to stand trial.
During his assessment Sieberhagen found that Diergaardt suffers from a diminished mental capacity for sentencing purposes, but that he was in his full mental capabilities when he committed the offence. Mthoko’s assessment also found Diergaardt knew what he doing when he stabbed Tiffany Tanita Lewin on March 3, 2014 at the room he rented at Erf 427, Garnett Street in Khomasdal.
The State alleges he stabbed his girlfriend at least 27 times with various knives in front of her four-year old son.
According to the indictment Lewin and her son arrived during the early evening hours to collect some property which Diergaardt earlier the same dayhad removed from her handbag. He then stabbed her at least 27 times with knives after which he fled the scene. Newspaper reports at the time indicated that the four-year old boy tried to intervene and managed to stab the accused on his upper thigh in an attempt to stop the accused from continuing to stab his mother. The deceased died on the scene due to blood loss.
The accused was arrested when he returned to his room later that night. He remains in custody at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s section for trial-awaiting prisoners.
State Advocate Seredine Jacobs is representing the State and Boris Isaacks is on record for Diergaardt.