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Gunshot death of woman was murder, court finds

A man who claimed his wife accidentally shot herself three times during a fight with him at a village in northern Namibia about three years ago was found guilty on charges of murder and attempted murder in the Oshakati High Court this week.

Judge Johanna Salionga convicted Erkki Haimene on two of the four charges on which he was prosecuted, after concluding that his version on the counts of murder and attempted murder that he faced was improbable and had to be rejected as false. Salionga acquitted Haimene on two other charges, in which the state alleged that he possessed a pistol and ammunition without a licence in October 2010.

The attempted murder charge dated from 2 October 2010, when Haimene’s wife, Vistorina Haimene, was injured when she was shot in the right arm at the couple’s home in the Greenwell Matongo area of Windhoek.

Salionga recorded in her judgement, which was released yesterday, that according to a neighbour of the couple, Haimene fired three shots at his wife on that occasion.

Haimene told the court two shots went off, while he and his wife were involved in a physical fight, during which she tried to take a pistol that he had with him. He said the pistol with which those shots were fired belonged to someone who had left the gun in his car. He also said he removed the gun from his car and intended to keep it safe until he could hand it back to the owner of the pistol.

Salionga concluded on the charges of possession of a firearm and ammunition without a licence that although Haimene physically possessed the firearm, it was not proven that he intended to have the gun in his possession for any other purpose than to keep it safe until he could return it to the owner.

During Haimene’s trial, which started in October last year, one of the state’s witnesses testified that he heard Haimene and his wife arguing in their bedroom at Omahenene, a village in the Eenhana district, during the evening of 15 April 2020.

The witness also said he heard three gunshots, which were not fired in quick succession, coming from the couple’s bedroom.
Haimene left the house after the shooting.

He was arrested by the police the same evening. Vistorina Haimene was found lying dead in the couple’s bedroom after the shooting.

Haimene told the judge his wife launched a physical attack on him when he wanted to leave their house to take the birth certificates of his children to their mother.

He said she jumped on him, overpowered him and made him fall to the floor, and then sat on his stomach, took a handgun from his waist and pointed the gun at him.

According to Haimene, he and his wife became involved in a physical struggle over the gun before he heard three shots going off while the gun was still in his wife’s hands. He said he was driving to Oshikango Police Station to report the incident when he was stopped by the police and arrested.

A medical doctor who carried out a post-mortem examination on Vistorina Haimene’s body recorded that she had been shot in the chest, abdomen and thigh. In his opinion, the shots were not fired at close range, the doctor said. Salionga noted that Haimene’s account about the three shots having been fired in quick succession was contradicted by two state witnesses, who said there were intervals between the three shots. She also noted that Haimene did not call for help after the shooting, but instead left the scene.

Salionga concluded that the only inference that could be drawn from the evidence was that Haimene murdered his wife.

The nature of the injuries that she sustained showed he had a direct intention to kill her, she found as well.

Haimene, who is being held in custody, has to return to court for a presentence hearing on 9 October. He is being represented by defence lawyer Mukaya Nyambe.

Deputy prosecutor general Ruben Shileka is representing the state.