An ex-prison warder who allegedly shot dead his wife at the gates of Pollsmoor Prison says he suffered “diminished mental capacity” at the time of the slaying.

Johan Dietricht pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in the Western Cape High Court yesterday.

In a statement, which was read out in court, Dietricht said he had “suffered from diminished mental capacity”, as a result of which he was unable to “appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions”.

Dietricht said he had suffered from a chronic depressive disorder since the 1980s.

He had been prescribed psychotropic medication and had been admitted to hospital on “many occasions”.

On the day of his wife, Marilyn Dietricht’s, murder on August 21, 2009, he 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”.

His wife had called him for money and they had made arrangements for her to pick it up. “When my wife arrived at the prison, I was crying and in a highly emotional state…” he said, adding that he had his official firearm on him.

“All I remember is that she arrived with a mutual friend by the name of Donovan Affinand and came into the guardhouse where I was working, and (we) had an argument,” Dietricht said. “I do not remember what happened thereafter.”

The trial is set to continue on Thursday. - Cape Times

[email protected]