Finger-pointing in Walvis murder trialBy: WERNER MENGES
THE two men charged with robbing and murdering an elderly Walvis Bay resident in his home five years ago are now accusing each other over the deadly incident.
Richardt Thomson (34), who is the first accused in the trial over the murder of Albert Petrus (‘Basie’) Rigaardt (81) in his home at Walvis Bay between July 4 and 6 2005, claimed in the High Court in Windhoek yesterday that it was his co-accused, Immanuel Katjire (29), alone who had attacked Rigaardt.
He tried to stop the attack, Thomson claimed in testimony he delivered in his own defence before Judge Alfred Siboleka. After the attack, he however added, his and Katjire’s ways did not part. Thomson said he then joined Katjire on a trip to Outjo in Rigaardt’s old Isuzu bakkie, because he had to attend a court case there and thought he could use the ride to get to Outjo.
Thomson and Katjire both pleaded not guilty to counts of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances at the start of their trial two weeks ago.
According to an autopsy report that is part of the evidence in the trial, Rigaardt died from a head injury, which included a skull fracture.
Statements made by both Thomson and Katjire to Police officers after their arrest have also become part of the evidence in the trial.
In two statements made by Thomson he implicated Katjire as having been responsible for the attack on Rigaardt.
Evidence about points on the crime scene that Katjire pointed out to a Police officer after his arrest also became part of the evidence yesterday. According to Katjire, through, it was Thomson who attacked Rigaardt. He claimed Thomson hit Rigaardt with a hammer, dragged him through the house, and finally tied him up before they left the scene.
The roles were reversed in the testimony given by Thomson yesterday. He related that after a drinking session which had left him tired and drowsy he accompanied Katjire to the house where the fatal events were to unfold.
Thomson said he was employed at a pharmacy at Walvis Bay at the time.
When Rigaardt opened his front door after Katjire had knocked, it appeared that he and Katjire knew each other, because they greeted each other and shook hands, Thomson said.
Rigaardt let them into the house, and gave him a glass of water when he asked for something to drink, Thomson said. He also allowed Katjire to visit a toilet in the house.
Thomson said he was dozing off when he suddenly woke up from a sound and found Rigaardt and Katjire locked in a scuffle in the kitchen of the house.
He said he shouted at Katjire to “leave the old man”. He saw that Katjire had a hammer in his hand, and that Rigaardt was bleeding from the side of his head, he said. Thomson said he grabbed the hammer out of Katjire’s hand and put it aside. At that point Katjire was asking Rigaardt for his car keys, he said.
He then saw Katjire hitting Rigaardt with a chair, Thomson continued. He claimed he again told Katjire to leave Rigaardt alone, adding that he should rather tie Rigaardt up if he wanted the car keys from him.
Before they left the house, Thomson said, he first poured a glass of water over his shoes to wash off the blood in which he had stepped in the kitchen.
After Katjire had pulled Rigaardt’s bakkie from the garage, he wanted to go back into the house because he said he wanted to take a television from the house, but he found that the front door had locked automatically when it closed, Thomson added.
Katjire was driving when they left the house, but because he was in an intoxicated state, Thomson soon took over the driving duties, he testified. He filled up the bakkie’s fuel tank with diesel at Swakopmund and again at Omaruru, and they set off to Outjo, he said.
The trial is continuing.
Defence lawyers Jorge Neves and Titus Mbaeva are representing Thomson and Katjire respectively. State advocate Boniface Konga is prosecuting.