News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday July 16th 2019

Alleged wife killer claims amnesia


Alleged wife killer Johan Dietrich, who claims he cannot recall the events during which he is alleged to have fatally shot his wife Marilyn five times in front of their son three years ago, has been accused of lying, distorting the truth and trying to relying on amnesia when it suited him.

Dietrich, a prison warder, “was conscious” when he allegedly killed his wife Marilyn Dietrich on August 21, 2009, according to Ashraf Jedaar, a psychologist called by the defense, who took the stand in Western Cape High Court on Thursday.

Jedaar interviewed Dietrich in order to ascertain whether he was fit to stand trial in this case.

According to Jedaar, the accused “did not lose control.  His mental state was clear and I don’t accept (that) he cannot remember”.

“Why does he remember everything except the shooting?  The medication does not affect his ability to act,” said Jedaar, referring to the claims that the medication Dietrich was taking was the reason for his amnesia.

“His intentions (by calling the wife to his place of work) were to put an end to all of his difficulties and problems,” said Jedaar.

He added that the accused would not have had amnesia because of the medication he was taking because “if one takes the medication for a long time the body becomes tolerant of the medication and there are no side effects”.

According to State prosecutor Mmatlaphi Tsheole, Marilyn, on the day in question, had called the accused for money and they had made arrangements for her to pick it up at his place of work. When Marilyn arrived at Pollsmor Prison an argument occurred between the two and Dietrich shot her five times while their son, who was eight-years-old at the time, was watching.

Dietrich’s advocate Naven Pillay argued that owing to Dietrich’s mental state during the attack, he was incapable of controlling his actions or appreciating their wrongfulness. Pillay claims that on the day of the murder, Dietrich took a cocktail of prescription medication and went to work at Pollsmor Prison.

Pillay told the court Dietrich had been suffering from a chronic depressive disorder since the 1980s and had been prescribed psychotropic medication and had been admitted to hospital on many occasions.

On the day of the alleged murder, according to Pillay, the accused had taken medication – including antidepressants and sleeping tablets – before leaving for work.

He had stopped at a bottle store and bought sweet wine, which he had drank because he was feeling very depressed, as it seemed his marriage was falling apart.

According to Pillay, Dietrich was stressed because in the last few days he had caught Marilyn cheating on him, catching her in the act with another man in their bedroom.

The case was postponed until September 3. – Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: Ashraf Jedaar, Johan Dietrich, Marilyn Dietrich, Mmatlaphi Tsheole, Naven Pillay, Pollsmor Prison, Western Cape High Court

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