WINDHOEK – The trial of a Gobabis woman accused of plotting with her lover to kill her husband in 2013 was delayed again yesterday after a medical certificate showing her lawyer, Hipura Ujaha, suffers from severe hypertension, was submitted to the Windhoek High Court.
The trial was supposed to start yesterday after Ujaha also failed to show up at a scheduled hearing last week to dispute two mental examinations that found his client fit to stand trial.
On that occasion Judge Christi Liebenberg ordered that Ujaha, who represents Rachel Rittmann, 47, should submit an affidavit to the court explaining why he did not show up for the hearing to challenge the admissibility of the mental reports.
Rittmann and her alleged helper and lover, Rhyno Richardo du Preez, 34, each face one count of murder, read with the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of robbery with aggravating circumstances and one count of defeating or obstructing, or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice.
The State alleges that in August 2013 they fatally stabbed Rittmann’s husband, Rudolph Henry Rittmann, at his home in Gobabis and then drove the body in his vehicle to a secluded spot in the veld, where they set the car on fire with the body inside to make the killing look like an accident.
They had apparently wanted to create the impression the deceased was incinerated after his car was involved in an accident.
Du Preez is the first accused and is represented by Boris Isaacks on the ticket of legal aid.
Rittmann is being held at Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s holding cells.
The remains of Rudolph Rittmann, 35, were found a few days after the incident in his car a few kilometres from Hosea Kutako International Airport, along the Windhoek-Gobabis road.
According to police records and the indictment, the Rittmann couple had marital problems, which would often lead to temporary separation during 2012 and 2013.
It is suspected the two accused plotted the man’s murder and worked together to that effect.
It is alleged on August 23, 2013, Rachel allegedly fed her husband unidentified tablets in a drink, which caused him to become drowsy and lose concentration.
She allegedly then called in Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, to kill Rudolf.
Police suspect Rudolf was stabbed several times all over his body with a sharp object, presumably a knife, as he lay in a state of confusion on his bed.
The two accused then allegedly loaded his body into his car and drove it to the Kapps Farm area on the eastern outskirts of Windhoek, a few kilometres east of the police checkpoint, where the car was found burned.