Three Zimbabwean nationals will go on trial for the murder of a nine-year-old girl in June this year, it was announced in the Windhoek High Court last week.
Rachel Kureva and Caroline and Edward Nkata will plead to charges of murder, read together with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, defeating the course of justice, and violating a dead body. The Nkatas face additional charges of attempted murder, fraud, alternatively uttering a forged document, forgery, as well as contravening the Immigration Control Act.
Windhoek High Court judge Philanda Christiaan told the trio their trial would start on 24 June and continue until 28 June, and again from 15 to 19 July, 12 to 16 August and 2 to 6 September.
This came after Joseph Andreas, who took over the legal duties for Kureva after she fired her previous lawyer Janita von Wieligh, told the judge he was not available for the period already set aside in February.
The Nkatas, alongside Kureva, are accused of murdering Akundaishe Natalie Chipomho between 23 and 25 January 2020.
Kureva, Chipomho’s biological mother, was re-arrested after the surfacing of incriminating evidence. The incriminating statement came from the Nkatas’ 14-year-old son.
As a result of that statement, the prosecutor general (PG) decided to arraign Kureva alongside the Nkatas. This came a year after the PG initially declined to prosecute the mother due to a lack of evidence.
The prosecution states that the accused also tried to kill Edward’s then 11-year-old son by hitting him with a belt and unknown objects all over his body between 20 and 22 January 2020, but he survived the ordeal.
However, between 23 and 25 January 2020, the Nkatas kicked and hit Chipomho with unknown objects on her body and head, leaving her unconscious.
The couple then placed her in a plastic bucket and waited for her to die, it is alleged.
She later died due to blunt impact head injuries. The Nkatas then went to a nearby service station and bought paraffin and matches, the State alleges.
They afterwards reportedly transported Chipomho’s remains in a wheely bin to a municipal skip, a distance from their flat, where they dumped the body and set it alight.
The Nkatas were spotted dragging a wheelie bin in the eastern direction of Ooievaar Street in the Rhino Park area around 21h00, and a witness felt it was suspicious because it was at night. They were also recorded on a surveillance camera in the area.
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After the incident, the couple took their minor children in an attempt to flee, but were arrested between Okahandja and Otjiwarongo.
The prosecution further alleges the Nkatas defrauded Progress Private School of N$6 000. It is alleged Caroline indicated to the school where she was employed as a teacher that Chipomho and an 11-year-old minor were her biological children.
Thus, the minor children were not required to pay school fees by virtue of her being an employee at the school.
The couple is furthermore accused of forging school reports for the children. They are also accused of overstaying in the country for seven months after their employment permits expired.
During the accused’s first appearance in Windhoek Magistrate’s Court, Caroline, who admitted guilt, confessed that her husband [Edward] beat Chipomho.
She was allegedly at home when the victim was being beaten. After the child died from the assault, her husband forced her to help him dispose of the girl’s body in a rubbish skip.
It was her testimony that he further forced her to accompany him to buy paraffin, dispose of the body, and set it alight.
Court documents show that at the time of Chipomho’s death, the couple was residing in a flat in Windhoek North with the victim’s biological mother, Kureva.