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Man guilty of murdering girlfriend at Rehoboth

A Rehoboth resident whose girlfriend was found stabbed to death in their house about two years ago was convicted on a charge of murder in the Windhoek High Court on Tuesday.

Judge Naomi Shivute found Johannes Tobias (50) guilty on a count of murder, read with the provisions of the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, after recording that Tobias admitted he had killed his girlfriend, Miriam Block (28), at Rehoboth on 1 July 2021.

Shivute also noted in her judgement that the prosecution’s evidence against Tobias was supported by medical and forensic evidence.

She concluded that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Tobias who killed Block by stabbing her repeatedly with a knife.
Tobias denied guilt on the murder charge when his trial began on 1 November last year.

The court heard during the trial that Tobias arrived at the house of one of the state’s witnesses at Rehoboth on 1 July 2021 and told the witness he was “tired” and “finished” and had killed his “wife”.

Two other witnesses also heard Tobias make that statement.
The witnesses told the court they observed bloodstains on Tobias’ clothes.

According to the first witness, Tobias invited her to accompany him to his house to see what had happened.
The three witnesses found Block dead in a pool of blood in her and Tobias’ house.

According to the witnesses, Tobias told them he was going to hand himself over to the police.

Tobias was arrested after he had arrived at Rehoboth Police Station.
A police officer told the court he found a knife with bloodstains in Tobias’ possession at the police station, and also observed bloodstains on Tobias’ clothes.

Another police officer testified that Block and her brother reported an alleged assault by Tobias on her to the police during June 2021. Since Block did not want to register a charge against Tobias, the police officer issued a verbal warning to Tobias, he told the court.

A forensic scientist who also testified during the trial said DNA profiles of both Tobias and Block were found on a belt Tobias was wearing and on the knife he had in his possession, Shivute recounted as well.

A medical doctor who carried out a post-mortem examination on Block’s body reported that she had been stabbed multiple times in the neck, chest and back, and sustained injuries to her heart and liver.

Shivute noted that although Tobias denied that he had admitted to witnesses he had killed Block, three witnesses told the court he had made such a statement.

“Although there was no eyewitness who saw [Tobias] stabbing [Block] to death, the circumstances of this case have many pointers against the accused,” Shivute said.

She added that she was satisfied the state’s witnesses were credible and trustworthy, and that there was no reason for them to make allegations to falsely implicate Tobias.

Shivute rejected Tobias’ denial of guilt as false beyond reasonable doubt, and concluded that he had a direct intention to kill Block when he stabbed her.

Tobias, who is being held in custody, has to return to court for a pretrial hearing on Friday.
He is being represented by defence lawyer Salomon Kanyemba.
State advocate Ethel Ndlovu is prosecuting.