Acquittal for one in murder, rape trial

Namibia, March 2016

Dimitri Narimab (29) spent nearly four years in jail as an awaiting-trial detainee before being found not guilty on a charge of murder, two counts of rape, a count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, and a charge of defeating or obstructing the course of justice, or attempting to do so.

Narimab was discharged on all counts at the end of a ruling in which acting judge Boas Usiku found there was no evidence before him on which Narimab could be convicted.

With the prosecution having closed its case in the trial of Narimab and co-accused Ruben Fritz (22), there was no direct or circumstantial evidence linking Narimab to the charges he and Fritz were jointly facing, acting judge Usiku said in his ruling.

He elaborated that there was no evidence placing Narimab at the crime scene where the naked body of the murdered Melody Alwina Uri-≠khos (18) was found in Windhoek on 1 April 2013, or that showed Narimab was aware that a crime had been committed or was found in possession of anything that could link him to the crimes in question.

With respect to Fritz, however, there was evidence that he admitted he had raped and murdered Uri-≠khos, and that he sold a cellphone that belonged to her for N$10 on the day after she had been killed, the acting judge also said.

Narimab’s defence lawyer, Mbanga Siyomunji, informed state witnesses during the presentation of the prosecution’s evidence in the trial that according to Narimab, he was not present at the scene where Uri-≠khos was murdered. Narimab’s version of events was that he last saw Uri-≠khos with Fritz at his house on the evening of 28 March 2013, Siyomunji said.

Fritz’s version was that he discovered Uri-≠khos’ body where it lay on a hillside east of Shandumbala in Katutura, Windhoek, when he was trying to find a place where he could hide some cannabis, his defence lawyer, Ray Silungwe, has told the court.

Acting judge Usiku has also heard that Fritz admitted to his mother that he killed a girl named Melody. During his and Narimab’s first court appearance following their arrest, he also admitted to a reporter from The Namibian, Nomhle Kangootui, that he had raped Uri-≠khos, the court has heard.

According to Kangootui, Fritz added that he and Narimab killed Uri-≠khos, but Narimab denied that he had been present at the scene where she was killed.

Fritz is also being implicated by DNA evidence. Samples collected from Uri-≠khos’ private parts, a bra of hers and a white sock found lying at the crime scene all contained DNA profiles that matched the profile of Fritz, the court has heard.

Fritz, who is remaining in custody, is due to return to court tomorrow so that dates for the continuation of his trial can be determined.

State advocate Ethel Ndlovu is prosecuting.