“I shot Hellwig first. Then I shot Mueller”

Sharlien Tjambari

A picture is starting to emerge about the deadly Monday morning of 15 April this year, when the Director of the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology, Eckhart Mueller (72), and his Deputy Director, Heim Hellwig (60), were gunned down in cold blood as they arrived for work at the Institute’s head office at Arandis.

The accused murderer Ernst Lichtenstrasser (58), who faces two murder charges among others, is applying for bail in the Swakopmund magistrate’s court.
During the bail hear-ing, an employee of NIMT testified she saw a vehicle at Arandis on the morning of the shootings. The vehicle was a Nissan pickup with silver rails on the roof. That was at 06:50. The description of the vehicle matches that of a vehicle owned by Lichtenstrasser.
Namibia’s Deputy-Prosecutor, Advocate Antonia Verhoef, represents the State and asked Lichtenstrasser during the proceedings whether he owned a 9mm pistol. Lichtenstrasser denied owning such a pistol. However, his son already admitted to the Police his father indeed owns a 9mm pistol.
It was also revealed to the court that a 9mm pistol, the type and calibre of handgun the Police believe was used in the shootings, was found hidden in the desert near Arandis. Vehicle tracks leading into the desert led the Police to the discovery of this 9mm handgun.
Spent cartridges collected on the murder scene at Arandis as well as spent 9mm cartridges at a shooting range near Tsumeb are now subjected to forensic tests to see if it was fired from the same gun. Once that is established, forensics must proof the cartridges originated from bullets fired from the 9mm found hidden in the desert.
The investigating team are also determining whether vehicle tracks and shoeprints found at the murder scene, in the desert, at the shooting range at Tsumeb and at Licthenstrasser’s home in Otavi are matching up, the court further heard during the bail application hearing.
Licthenstrasser’s to the contrary is painting a different picture. He explained during his testimony that he was coerced into making a confession. He maintains he was told what to say and also alleges the Police threatened to arrest his wife. Hence, he decided to make this false confession.
Lichtenstrasser admitted to court he was at the coast in the same time period of the murders, and said he was made to admit he followed his victims to Arandis with his car. When they arrived at the NiMT headquarters he approached Mueller and Hellwig.
Mueller allegedly addressed him [Lichtenstrasser] “in a certain tone” and that was “when he lost it”. Lichtenstrasser explained he shot Hellwig first and then Mueller.
“I also added that I hid the pistol somewhere in the desert at a rocky outcrop. I had to make the story believable and I even told the police they will not find anything there”, said Lichtenstrasser maintaining whatever confession he made was false as he was forced and “coached” into what he should say.
Lichtenstrasser repeatedly said he is not guilty of all charges leveled against him. He also said he is 58 years old and his whole life is in Namibia and therefore he poses no flight risk should he be granted bail. The bail application hearing was adjourned on Friday to 8 July. It is expected that Lichtenstrasser’s wife would be testifying then.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login