Woman accused of killing husband fires lawyer

23 Jun 2016 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 23 JUN (NAMPA) - A Gobabis woman who allegedly connived with her lover to murder her husband in August 2013, on Thursday fired her State-funded defence lawyer.
Rachel Elizabeth Rittmann, 45, parted ways with her Government-sponsored defence lawyer Milton Engelbrecht, claiming that there is a conflict of interest between the lawyer, herself
and police officers investigating the matter.
Engelbrecht was defending Rittmann acting on the instructions of the Justice Ministry's Directorate of Legal Aid.
Shortly after Engelbrecht was allowed to withdraw by High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg, accused Rittmann told the court she will now obtain the services of a privately-instructed defence lawyer to represent her during future court proceedings and when the trial proper begins.
The 45-year-old Rittmann is charged in the matter alongside her alleged lover, Ryno Ricardo du Preez, 32.
Their case was postponed until 29 July in order to allow Rittmann to properly instruct her private defence lawyer.
The two accused face one count of murder each, amongst other charges in respect of the death of Rudolf Rittmann, 35.
The deceased's burnt remains were found in his car outside Hosea Kutako International Airport, along the Windhoek-Gobabis road a few days after the alleged incident.
According to the indictment, the Rittmann couple had marital problems that would often lead to temporary separation stints during 2012 and 2013.
It is suspected the two accused plotted Rudolf’s murder and worked together to that effect.
The motive of the murder was apparently to cash in on inheritance.
It is alleged that on 23 August 2013, Rittmann fed her husband unidentified tablets through a drink, which caused her husband to become drowsy.
She then called in Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, apparently to kill Rudolf.
The police suspect Rudolf was stabbed 20 times 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 up to the Kappsfarm area, east of Windhoek and a few kilometres from the police check point, where the car was found burned.
They apparently set the vehicle on fire in an effort to cover their tracks.
In addition to the murder charge, the duo each face a count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice and a count of violating a body by setting it alight.
They also face a count of malicious damage to property.
Rittmann is being held at the Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is at the Windhoek Central Correctional Facility's holding cells.
Deputy Prosecutor-General Antonia Verhoef appeared for the State.