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New dates for couple’s child-murder trial

The trial of a Zimbabwean couple accused of killing a nine-year-old girl and dumping her body in a rubbish skip in Windhoek three and a half years ago will not be starting during this year still.

Edward Nkata (40) and his wife, Caroline Nkata (39), were informed of new dates that have been set for their trial when they made their latest appearance in the High Court at Windhoek Correctional Facility yesterday.

Their trial, which had been scheduled to begin in January, is now due to start on 15 January 2024.

Meantime, a hearing of an application by the state to have the case of fellow Zimbabwean Rachel Kureva (40), who is facing some of the same charges as the Nkatas, joined to the couple’s case is scheduled to take place before judge Philanda Christiaan on 29 August.

The Nkata couple and Kureva were at first jointly charged in connection with the death of Kureva’s nine-year-old daughter, Natalie Chipomho, but charges against Kureva were withdrawn in January last year, after the prosecutor general declined to prosecute her.

The prosecutor general decided to again charge Kureva in January this year, after a teenage witness made a statement to the police in which he allegedly implicated her in connection with her daughter’s death.

The case in which the Nkata couple are charged has been on hold since Kureva was rearrested and charged again in January this year.

The state is alleging that Natalie was killed through an assault in Windhoek between 23 and 25 January 2020.

It is also alleged that after she had been assaulted, she was placed in a plastic tub and left to die in the garage of the flat shared by the Nkata couple and Kureva.

After the girl had died due to head injuries, the Nkatas bought paraffin and matches at a service station near their flat before they moved her body in a wheelie bin to a rubbish skip, where the body was set on fire in an attempt to hide Natalie’s identity and hinder an expected police investigation into her disappearance or death, the state is charging as well in its indictment against the couple.

Kureva was employed as a nurse at the time that her daughter was killed.

In its indictment, the state also says Kureva had left the day-to-day supervision of her daughter in the hands of the Nkata couple before the girl’s death.

The Nkatas are charged with counts of murder, attempted murder, defeating or obstructing the course of justice, fraud, forgery and a contravention of the Immigration Control Act.

It is alleged that during 2019 the couple falsely claimed Natalie was their child in order to enrol her at a school where Caroline Nkata was employed as a teacher, that they forged a school report of Natalie to have her enrolled in another school, and that they stayed in Namibia after an employment permit issued to Caroline Nkata in 2017 expired in June 2019.

The Nkatas and Kureva are all being held in custody.