Tourist Murder in Namibia

By Steen Hartsen

Tourist Murder in Namibia

By Steen Hartsen

In July 2007 German tourist Johannes Fellinger and his wife were visiting Windhoek, Namibia. Fellinger and his wife had stopped by the side of the road in a rented vehicle taking some photographs when they were approached by two men in camouflage gear. The strangers attacked the Mrs. Fellinger, and when her husband attempted to come to her aid they shot and killed him. During the subsequent abduction of Mrs Fellinger and while transporting Mr. Fellinger’s body, the assailants’ vehicle overturned and the accused fled on foot, leaving the injured victim and her husband’s body at the scene of the accident.

Police responded to the crime scene, and took evidence in the form of blood swabs from stones found where the vehicle had overturned, and a green shirt where the body of the deceased was found. Firearms and shell casings were also recovered from the scene. The items requiring nuclear DNA testing were then packaged and shipped to the BCIT Forensic DNA laboratory for analysis.

Former police officer Fanuel Festus Shipanga and his accomplice, Paulus Kamiti, were arrested as the primary suspects in the offence. Samples of the suspects’ blood were collected as part of the investigation to allow comparisons between the blood found at the crime scene and the suspects in custody. After careful analysis, the BCIT Forensic DNA laboratory was able to match DNA found on the green jacket near the deceased with one of the blood samples taken from one of the accused. Analysis of blood from the rocks at the scene of the crash indicated a match with the known reference sample obtained from the second accused, corroborating a confession that he later claimed was coerced.

In 2010 members of the BCIT Forensic DNA laboratory were flown to Windhoek, Namibia to provide expert testimony about the evidence obtained in this case. Based on the DNA evidence, as well as corroborating testimony from other individuals, the judge found both Fanuel Festus Shipanga and Paulus Kamati guilty on counts of murder, robbery, kidnapping, and other firearm offenses. They were each sentenced to 46 years in prison for their crimes. After exhausting all available appeals in 2014, the convictions have been upheld and both accused will be serving the full term of the conviction.

View the Reasons of Judgement below.