02 Jul 2018 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 02 JUL (NAMPA) - The trial of Gobabis resident Rachel Elizabeth Rittmann, who allegedly connived with her lover to murder her husband in August 2013, is expected to kick off in the High Court here next Monday.
The 46-year-old Ritmann is charged in the matter with her lover, Ryno Ricardo du Preez, 34, in respect of the death of Rudolf Rittmann, whose burnt remains were found in his car on the Windhoek-Gobabis road on 23 August 2013.
The two accused made another appearance before High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg on Monday and were informed that their murder trial will begin before the same judge on 09 July 2018.
The trial is set to run until 15 August 2018.
The date for the start of the trial was concluded as per an agreement reached by State Advocate Ethel Ndlovu and the two accused's government-funded defence lawyers Boris Isaacks and Hipura Ujaha in court.
The date for the trial was only decided upon after reports were released by two private psychiatrists - Drs Reinhardt Sieberhagen and Gerhard Marx - showing Ritmann is fit to stand trial and is not suffering from any mental illness as she claimed.
On 20 June 2017, Rittmann, through her defence lawyer Ujaha, asked the High Court to undergo 30 days of mental evaluation at the Windhoek Central Hospital's psychiatric unit.
She was mentally observed by the two private psychiatrists to determine her mental status prior to, at the time, and after the alleged commissioning of the offence after she told the court she has a history of anxiety and depression.
Ritmann and Du Preez face one count of murder each; a count of conspiracy to murder; a count of defeating or obstructing the course of justice; a count of violating a dead body by setting it alight, as well as a count of malicious damage to property.
Rachel allegedly mixed unidentified tablets into her husbands drink and he became drowsy.
She then called in co-accused and lover, Du Preez, who was waiting nearby, to kill him.
Rudolf Rittmann was stabbed 20 times with a sharp object, presumably a knife, while he lay in a state of confusion in his bed.
The two accused then 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 burnt car was found.
They allegedly set the vehicle on fire in an effort to cover their tracks.
Rachel is being held at the Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is being held at the Windhoek Correctional Facilitys holding cells.