Two women denied bail in child murder

By Maria Hamutenya

ONE of the Zimbabwean women allegedly involved in the murder of a nine-year-old Zimbabwean girl, Akundaishe Natalie Chipomho, whose remains were found burnt beyond recognition in a dustbin in Windhoek North testified that she was not responsible for the murder but witnessed it.

The 36-year-old Caroline Nkata, who is also the stepmother of the deceased child victim, told the Windhoek Magistrate Court on Wednesday that she was present when the offence was committed. “I was forced to go with him when he went to dispose the body and when he went to burn the body. I have not committed any offence but I was present during the commission of the offence.”

She further explained in detail that while she was not forced to watch her husband beat his daughter to death in their home, she did not partake in any of the acts. “I did not beat the child. I watched him beat his daughter… When the child died we went to buy paraffin… we headed to the skip bin and I watched him dispose and burn her body,” she told the court.

She intends to represent herself in the matter. Nkata appeared in court yesterday alongside Rachel Kureva, the 37-year-old biological mother of Akundaishe. The two are being charged for murder, defeating and obstructing the course of justice and violating a dead body. The third suspect who is the father of the girl is currently being held in the Otjiwarongo hospital after the police car he was carried in overturned 10km before Otjiwarongo.

Kureva, who pleaded not guilty remained quiet throughout the proceedings and only informed Magistrate Ndapewa Amadhila that she will seek services of a private lawyer, as she has legal insurance.

The case was postponed to 17 April as investigations are still at an early stage. Several witness statements are yet to be filed. The post-mortem report together with the forensic report, photo plan and video footage from City Police, as well as from a service station near the scene of the crime were all obtained, but yet to be filed.

The two will remain in custody at the Windhoek police station without bail, as the State considers the two foreign nationals to be a flight risk.

“There is fear from the State’s side that the accused will interfere with the ongoing investigation if granted bail as investigations are at a very sensitive stage. It is also not in the interest of the public and not in the interest of the administration of justice for the accused persons to be granted bail,” Prosecutor Andrie Hendricks told the court.