Trio accused of child murder deny charges

ON TRIAL … Edward Nkata, Rachael Kureva and Caroline Nkata in the dock before the start of their trial yesterday. Photo: Werner Menges

A married couple and the mother of a nine-year-old girl found dead in a rubbish skip in Windhoek near the start of 2020 denied guilt on a charge of murder in the Windhoek High Court yesterday.

Zimbabwean citizens Rachael Kureva (41), Edward Nkata (41) and Caroline Nkata (40) each denied guilt on a charge of murder, two counts of attempted murder, two charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, a charge of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, a count of failure to provide adequate medical assistance to a child, two counts of fraud and a count of forgery with the start of their trial before judge Philanda Christiaan.

Edward and Caroline Nkata, who are a married couple, pleaded guilty on one further charge, admitting that they contravened the Immigration Control Act by remaining in Namibia from 16 June 2019 to 26 January 2020, after the expiry of a two-year employment permit that permitted them to stay in Namibia from June 2017.

The Nkata couple and Kureva are accused of murdering Kureva’s daughter Akundaishe Chipomho (9) 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 the girl was assaulted at a flat in the Rhino Park area of Windhoek, where she lived with her mother, the Nkata couple and the couple’s children, during the period from September to December 2019.

It is also alleged that no medical assistance was given to her, despite her having visible injuries as a result of the assaults.

The state is alleging that after the assault in which she was fatally injured, she was placed in a plastic tub in an unconscious state and left to die in a garage at the flat.

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.

The state is alleging that Kureva, the Nkatas and their children spent the evening after the discovery of the burnt body at an apartment Kureva was renting at a shopping mall in Windhoek.

The next day, the Nkatas allegedly fled from Windhoek with their children, before the police arrested them at a roadblock between Okahandja and Otjiwarongo.

Kureva was employed as a nurse at the time.

Caroline Nkata was employed as a teacher at a primary school in Windhoek.

The three accused did not offer any explanation of their pleas on the charges on which they denied guilt, with defence lawyers Mbanga Siyomunji, Milton Engelbrecht and Joseph Andreas – representing Edward Nkata, Caroline Nkata and Kureva, respectively – informing the judge they would remain silent on those charges at this stage and require the state to prove its case against them.

The prosecution’s first witness in the trial yesterday was a minor (16) whose testimony was heard behind closed doors after state advocate Ethel Ndlovu informed the judge that he is a vulnerable witness and asked for his evidence to be heard on camera.

The trial is continuing.
The three accused are being held in custody.

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