Investigator says witnesses in NIMT double murder case fear for their lives

09 Jul 2019 09:20am
SWAKOPMUND, 09 JUL (NAMPA) – State witnesses in the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) double murder case have opposed the granting of bail for accused Ernst Lichtenstrasser, as they fear for their lives after threats made against them.
This was revealed by a member of the investigation team of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol), Inspector Reinhard Maletzky, during his testimony in the accused’s bail hearing in the Swakopmund Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
He told the court that some witnesses came forth and filed complaints of threats by the accused.
“We also fear that the accused might interfere with or influence his 14-year-old son who is a crucial part of this case and is currently living with his biological mother, and that the accused might abscond,” Maletzky said.
Lichtenstrasser stands accused of the murders of NIMT director Eckhart Mueller, 72, and deputy director Heimo Hellwig, 60, who were shot to death in front of the NIMT campus office block in Arandis on 15 April 2019.
The police inspector further said there were discrepancies in the accused’s police statement and the one he gave in court.
In his court testimony on 13 June 2019, Lichtenstrasser claimed the reason he left home in Otavi on 14 April was because he argued with his wife over a table his son broke.
However, according to Maletzky, the 58-year-old’s initial statement at the police station stated that the argument between him and his wife was because he forgot to run an important errand for her the previous day, causing him to punch and break a door in the house, for which he reportedly gave her money before he left.
“He testified that after he dropped his son off at his biological mother in Tsumeb, he drove back home to Otavi and gave his wife N.dollars 1 000 for the broken table, before allegedly driving into the Namib Desert for some air,” the inspector said.
Maletzky said the accused confessed to the double murder in the police statement, and that before his arrest in Karibib, Lichtenstrasser was heard telling somebody on a borrowed phone, that “everything went wrong and the police are here with me now”.
In court, the accused said he was pressured to make that confession and denied having committed the offences.
The bail hearing continues on Tuesday with Magistrate Conchita Olivier presiding and Deputy Prosecutor-General Advocate Antonia Verhoef representing the State.
The accused is represented by lawyer Trevor Brockerhoff.