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Lichtenstrasser denies NIMT killings

Lichtenstrasser denies NIMT killings

Eba Kandovazu

 

ERNST Lichtenstrasser, the man implicated in the double murder of two executives at the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) today denied playing any part in the murders when his trial began in the high court.

 

The 58-year-old was employed at NIMT as a senior lecturer in Tsumeb.

 

He is accused of gunning down Eckhart Mueller, 72, and Heimo Hellwig, 60, in the morning hours of 15 April 2019 when they arrived at the institute for work.

 

Lichtenstrasser now faces a total eight charges.

 

ALLEGED MURDERER: Ernest Lichtenstrasser pictured with his lawyer.
Photo and video by Eba Kandovazu

 

In addition to the double murder charges, he faces charges of possession of an illegal firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and obstructing the course of justice by allegedly burying a pistol with live ammunition in the desert at Swakopmund.

 

He is also charged with theft, in that he stole a firearm in 2016.

 

Another charge of possession of an unlicensed forearm had been added to the charge sheet, in that he possessed it since 2016 to 2019.

 

The state is also alleging that he unlawfully supplied a firearm to someone in Okongo, without prior authorisation in 2016.

 

Without providing a plea explanation, Lichtenstrasser shouted “not guilty” as the charges were put to him one by one by Deputy Prosecutor General Antonia Verhoeff.

 

The state, as a result, will have to prove the allegations as set out in the indictment.

 

The wife of Hellwig, Sabina, was the first state witness to be called.

 

She, also an employee at NIMT in Arandis, recounted the events of that fateful day.

 

According to her, the two deceased men both lived in Swakopmund and would drive together to work.

 

“It was a normal morning for us at home. We had breakfast and as usual, my husband went outside the house to smoke a cigarette and he waited for Mueller to arrive so they drive to work. This has been their routine for as far back as 2004. I usually drive with other colleagues in a work minibus. My husband and Mueller are usually the first people at work. Halfway to the campus, a colleague of mine who was also in the work minibus received a call from another colleague of ours who had seemingly arrived at work. She had a sad look on her face and urged the driver to drive a bit faster,” Sabina told Judge Christie Liebenberg.

 

Upon their arrival, she says, the police had already cordoned off the scene, where Mueller and Heimo had been fatally shot.

 

According to her, she hasn’t received her husband’s cellphone, his cigarette wallet and his driver’s license from the police, as they were exhibits.

 

The trial continues in the Windhoek High Court, with more witnesses expected to take the stand.

 

Albert Titus, an in-house Legal Aid lawyer, is represents Lichtenstrasser.

 

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