Man suspected of setting fire to two sisters appears in court

Man suspected  of setting fire  to two sisters appears in court

The man accused of setting fire to two sisters while they were sleeping in Greenwell Matongo appeared in the Katutura Magistrate’s Court yesterday morning.

The suspect, identified as Augusto Matheus Sipema, 34, was denied bail and his case was postponed to November 28.

Sipema dated one of the two sisters, Hilda Shekupe Thomas, 27, who was severely burnt in the fire. The second victim is 25-year-old Aulelia Thomas.

It is alleged the suspect poured paraffin from the doorway into the shack, set it alight and then disappeared.
The sisters are left with horrific burn wounds and were admitted to an intensive care unit of a local hospital.
Sipema was arrested by the police on Wednesday night in Otjiwarongo while he was allegedly travelling to his place in Tsumeb, where he had recently relocated.

Sipema was arrested in the company of his other girlfriend who is pregnant.

After his initial arrest last week Wednesday he was released as the police felt they did not have sufficient evidence linking him to the crime.

After the police had released him last week Friday he felt there was nothing much to do in Windhoek so he decided to travel back to Tsumeb where he had moved about a month ago, the court heard. He denied hiding from the police.

According to the suspect, after he was released the police only told him that he and his family should not visit the victims in hospital or contact the victim’s family.

“The police didn’t tell me not to leave Windhoek,” he told New Era.

Sipema further expressed love for his girlfriend and denied setting their shack on fire.
“I love her, even when she is in hospital. Even if she burnt and no matter how she looks, I love her and will marry her and that’s what I told her family when we visited her in hospital. Even if I go to prison I still love her. I didn’t do it,” he said, adding that one day the truth will come out that he did not “burn the sisters”.

Sipema also denied undressing and beating his girlfriend. He claimed they had a cordial relationship and that his girlfriend had visited him in Tsumeb a week before the fire in Windhoek.

Sipema appeared on two charges – attempted murder and arson, both read with provisions of the Domestic Violence Act 4, of 2003. He told the court he would apply for legal aid.

Public prosecutor George Matali told the court that the offence is serious and it is thus not in the public interest and administration of justice to grant the suspect bail.
Magistrate Erich Eduard Kesslau presided.

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