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American murder accused wins assault suit

2023-05-26  Maria Sheya

American murder accused wins assault suit

One of the two American nationals currently on trial for the assassin-like murder of Andre Heckmair, emerged victorious on Wednesday in his assault suit against the government.

Marcus Thomas was awarded N$50 000 for the assault he endured at the hands of officers at the Windhoek Correctional Services on 13 January 2017 by Windhoek High Court judge Hannelie Prinsloo. 

Prinsloo said the beating carried out on Thomas was not warranted.

“I believe that the assault on the plaintiff was excessive, and that the plaintiff could have been subdued with minimal force,” said the judge.

In his suit, Thomas sued the then Minister of Safety and Security Charles Namoloh, commissioner-general of the Namibia Correctional Services, and four correctional officers for assault, torture and emotional stress.

He was claiming N$500 000 for assault and torture, N$200 000 for emotional stress and N$400 000 for constitutional damages. The total amount sought was N$1.1 million.

He claimed the damages arose from an incident on 13 January 2017 when he was involved in a fight with a fellow inmate. After the fight, he was escorted to a warden’s office, where he was questioned about the fight. He allegedly explained his version to the officer, but the latter allegedly did not believe him and told him that he (plaintiff) has a problem with all “Africans”. 

During the interrogation, he was assaulted after he refused to take a seat on the floor.

According to him, the correctional officer said “all Americans are arrogant”. 

Thomas is currently on trial with fellow countryman Kevan Townsend on a count of murder, a count of robbery with aggravating circumstances, three counts of contravening the Ammunitions Act, and a count of defeating or obstructing or attempting to defeat or obstruct the course of justice. 

All the charges are connected to the killing of Andre Peter Heckmair (25) in Windhoek on 7 January 2011.

The prosecution is alleging that the two accused met in a jail in New York in the United States of America, where Thomas paid the bail of Townsend, who was in police custody then. 

After the release of Townsend, they travelled to Helsinki in Finland, from where they forwarded a package to Namibia containing a firearm silencer but which was labelled ‘furniture spare’ or ‘table leg replacement’ in preparation for their plan to travel to Namibia and kill the deceased. 

After they arrived in Namibia, it is stated in court documents that they started making enquiries on the whereabouts of Heckmair, and bought an illegal 7.65mm pistol. 

After they managed to contact Heckmair, they lured him to the quiet Gusinde Street in Windhoek’s Eros suburb, where they allegedly shot him once in the head and robbed him of his cellphone and wallet containing 100 Swiss Franc.

Thomas and Townsend were arrested at a guest house in Windhoek on the evening after the killing.




2023-05-26  Maria Sheya

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