The High Court has heard how a four-year-old’s birthday party turned into a scene from a horror movie when her mother died in a pool of blood after an argument with her father over burnt braai meat.
The killing on November 10, 2012 in Golgota, Katutura, sent shockwaves through the nation and was relived in court yesterday when State witness Evan Hamaseb testified against murder accused Jeffrey Barman.
Hamaseb was victim Melanie Booysen’s neighbour.
He related how the killing played out in front of his eyes.
“I found the deceased and the accused together at the back of the house, where meat was being braaied for the party,” he said.
The witness said he heard the deceased say to the accused: “My father asked who burnt the meat.”
The accused allegedly retorted by asking: “Who burnt the meat?” Although the deceased then said something, he could not hear, Hamaseb said.
“Thereafter out of the blue, Barman threw a glass towards the deceased which struck her in the neck. She was cut and the wound seemed deep and blood was oozing out of it.” Hamaseb said he told Booysen to sit down on a nearby bench.
According to him, Susanna Booysen, the mother of the deceased asked why Barman had stabbed her daughter, but the accused pushed her out of the way and she fell against the fence.
The witness allegedly restrained Barman by putting his hands around him.
Hamaseb said that prior to the incident there was no argument between the accused and the deceased. Earlier yesterday, Barman, 24, pleaded not guilty to murdering Booysen by allegedly cutting her throat. He also pleaded not guilty to two attempted murder charges, as well as assaulting the mother of the deceased. He, however, pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, for an incident in which he stabbed his cousin Albertus Duncan three times during a brawl in Katutura. Duncan was stabbed, near his ear, shoulder and back and had to be rushed to the intensive care unit of the Katutura State Hospital following the attack.
The incident occurred barely three months after the accused was released on N$3 000 bail for the alleged murder of Booysen.
His bail was cancelled and he has been in custody ever since.
Hamaseb said he had come to know Barman through the deceased. He said the accused used to come to visit the deceased’s home, as he was the father of her daughter. The witness testified that on that fateful day, he arrived almost at the same time as Barman.
Barman was seated outside the house with his friends and offered him a drink, but he declined as it was too early, Hamaseb said. According to him, Barman later entered the house and asked whether he could use his cellphone to make a call. He offered the accused his cellphone and after a while followed him when he went outside, because he feared Barman might disappear with it. It was then that the killing happened. At the time of Barman’s arrest, it was alleged that he tried to flee the scene and climbed on top of a roof. He broke his leg during a subsequent jump.
The trial continues before Judge Christie Liebenberg.
Advocate Simba Nduna appears for the State, while advocate Willem Visser is representing Barman.
By Fred Goeieman: Namibian Sun