Head injury claimed life of girl found burnt in rubbish skip

MURDER TRIAL … Zimbabwean nationals Edward Nkata, Rachael Kureva and Caroline Nkata (from left) are being prosecuted in connection with the death of Kureva’s daughter, who died at the age of nine. Photo: Werner Menges

A nine-year-old child whose body was found burnt in a rubbish skip in Windhoek near the start of 2020 died due to a head injury, a medical doctor testified in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

“This girl died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head,” medical doctor Simasiku Kabanje said in testimony heard by judge Philanda Christiaan.

Kabanje, who carried out a post-mortem examination on Akundaishe Chipomho (9), said she died due to a head injury that included bruising of her brain and bleeding in her head.

He also found indications that Akundaishe had previously had a head injury that included bleeding on her brain as well, and concluded that the previous injury had been caused by an assault, Kabanje said.

He gave his testimony in the trial of Akundaishe’s mother, Rachael Kureva (41), and a married couple, Edward Nkata (41) and Caroline Nkata (40), who are facing a count of murder in connection with the girl’s death. The Nkata couple and Kureva denied guilt on 10 charges – including a count of murder, two charges of attempted murder, two counts of assault with intent to do grievious bodily harm, and charges of failing to provide adequate medical assistance to an injured child and defeating or obstructing the course of justice when their trial began on Monday.

The Nkatas, who are Zimbabwean citizens, pleaded guilty on one further charge, admitting they were illegally in Namibia from 16 June 2019 to 26 January 2020, after the expiry of a two-year employment permit on which they had been staying in the country from June 2017.

The Nkatas and Kureva, who is also a Zimbabwean national, are accused of murdering Akundaishe in Windhoek between 23 and 25 January 2020, and of trying to hide the killing by placing her body in a rubbish skip and setting it on fire.

The state is alleging that during the period from September to December 2019 the girl was also assaulted at a flat in the Rhino Park area of Windhoek, where she lived with her mother, the Nkatas and the couple’s children.

It is also alleged that no medical assistance was given to Akundaishe, despite her having visible injuries as a result of the assaults.
Kureva was employed as a nurse at the time of the alleged incidents.

The state is alleging that after the assault in which Akundaishe was fatally injured, she was left in an unconscious state in a garage at the flat, where she died.

After her death, her body was removed from the flat, dumped in a rubbish skip nearby and set alight, it is alleged as well.
The body was found on 25 January 2020.

Kabanje told the court he did not find soot in Akundaishe’s trachea when he carried out an autopsy on her body, which indicated she was not alive when her body was burnt.

He also said he noticed an injury to her lower abdomen that in his opinion had been caused by blunt impact.

If she received emergency medical care, Akundaishe could have survived the head injury that claimed her life, Kabanje said as well.

A previous witness, Ester Nkhata, told the court on Wednesday that when she went to visit Edward Nkata in a Windhoek hospital after he had been injured in a car accident following his arrest, he told her: “I beat up the child.”

She also spoke to Kureva and Caroline Nkata about Akundaishe’s death, she said.

Caroline Nkata, she said, told her: “It was Edward who beat up the child.”

Nkhata added that Kureva said: “Edward beat up the child, and the child could have been beaten at a wrong place.”

The trial is scheduled to continue on 15 July.

The three accused are being held in custody.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News