Key suspect in Gobabis love-triangle murder gets new lawyer

23 Jan 2019 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 23 JAN (NAMPA) – Ryno Ricardo du Preez, a key suspect in a trial in which he and a Gobabis woman are believed to have killed her husband in 2013 in order to cash in on his inheritance, has now secured legal representation.
The 33-year-old Du Preez is now represented by Ileni Gebhardt on the instruction of the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid Directorate after the accused’s former State-funded defence lawyer Braam Cupido withdrew from the case on 05 December 2018, citing conflicting instructions from his client.
The continuation of the trial was on Wednesday postponed to 20 February 2019 to allow Du Preez’s newly-appointed lawyer to consult her client in preparation of the defence case.
Du Preez is charged in the matter along with his lover and alleged accomplice Rachel Rittmann, 45, in respect of the circumstances that led to the death of Rudolf Rittmann on 23 August 2013.
Rachel is the wife of the deceased.
Du Preez had also suffered setbacks in his trial when the first State witness, his brother Egenhardt du Preez told High Court Judge Christie Liebenberg that a plan to kill Rudolf Rittmann was discussed at a restaurant in Windhoek between the two accused in June 2013.
However, Ryno and Rachel denied any involvement in the alleged planning and committing of the offence when they entered not guilty pleas to the charges against them at the start of the trial last year.
The duo entered not guilty pleas to the charges of murder, conspiring to kill the deceased, robbery with aggravating circumstances when they allegedly assaulted the victim and took some of his valuable personal property, and obstructing or attempting to obstruct the course of justice after they allegedly cleaned the room at a house in Gobabis in efforts to eliminate the physical evidence that would link them to the crime.
In her statement, accused Rachel informed the judge that she was not influenced or forced by any person in respect of her not guilty pleas to all the charges.
She told the court she was at no time involved in a conspiracy to kill her husband or in the actual killing of her husband.
The late Rudolf Rittmann’s burnt remains were found in his car a few kilometres outside the Hosea Kutako International Airport along the Windhoek-Gobabis road.
Rachel is held at the Klein Windhoek Police Station, while Du Preez is kept at the Windhoek Correctional Facility’s holding cells.
State advocates Martino Olivier and Ethel Ndlovu represented the State in the matter.