A GOBABIS resident accused of having conspired with her boyfriend to kill her husband in August 2013 is resisting attempts to obtain a DNA sample from her.
With extramarital lovers Rachel Rittmann (46) and Rhyno du Preez (33) making another pre-trial appearance in the Windhoek High Court on Wednesday, state advocate Marthino Olivier informed judge Christie Liebenberg that Rittmann has been refusing to have a DNA sample taken from her.
Olivier also said the prosecution would now be asking the court to order that the sample needed for DNA analysis to be done should be taken from Rittmann.
A DNA sample has already been taken from Du Preez and the analysis of that specimen has been completed, Olivier added.
Rittmann’s defence lawyer, Hipura Ujaha, confirmed that she was not willing to provide a DNA sample. The state has had more than three years to have the required investigations done, Ujaha said.
He also told the judge that in his view, DNA analysis would in any event not advance the state’s case, as Rittmann was not denying that she had been present in her and her late husband’s house, where she also lived. Olivier informed judge Liebenberg that he would formally apply for a court order authorising the taking of a DNA specimen from Rittmann. The application is due to be heard on Wednesday next week.
Rittman and Du Preez are scheduled to go on trial in the Windhoek High Court on 19 June. They have both indicated in pre-trial documents filed at the court that they would be denying guilt on all the charges they are facing: counts of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and defeating or obstructing the course of justice, or attempting to do so.
The state is alleging that they murdered Rittmann’s husband, Rudolph Rittmann (34), at Gobabis on 23 August 2013, stole his cellphone, wallet with bank cards, and his Isuzu bakkie, and then tried to obstruct the police’s investigation of his death by setting fire to his bakkie, with his body inside the vehicle, next to the main road between Gobabis and Windhoek.
The killing had been discussed during a meeting that Rachel Rittmann and Du Preez had with a brother of Du Preez in June 2013, and the plan was carried out when Rittmann and Du Preez attacked the late Rudolph Rittmann while he lay sleeping in his house, overpowered him and stabbed him with a knife, it is also alleged in the prosecution’s indictment.
The state is further charging that after Rittmann had been killed, Du Preez drove with his body in his Isuzu bakkie to an area near Kapps Farm, east of Windhoek, where the vehicle – with the body inside – was set alight.
In its indictment, the prosecution is also alleging that Rachel Rittmann expected to receive an inheritance from her husband in the event of his death, and that this was the motive for the murder.
Du Preez and Rittmann were planning to use part of her expected inheritance to settle a fraud case that a former employer of theirs had opened against them in May 2013, when they were both employed at a cash loan business at Okahandja, the state is charging.
Rittmann and Du Preez were arrested about a week after the killing. They have remained in custody since then.