Man (34) fatally assaults wife over a missing NetOne recharge card
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A 34-year-old Lupane man, Busani Sibanda, who fatally assaulted his wife following a misunderstanding over a missing NetOne recharge card has been sentenced to 18 years in jail.
Sibanda, of Ngwalongwalo Village, pleaded not guilty to the murder of his wife, Sikhulile Dube (24), but was on Thursday convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maphios Cheda sitting with Messrs Elias Tolana Ndlovu and Felix Dube as assessors.
The court sitting at the Hwange High Court Circuit found extenuating circumstances in that he had been convicted of murder with constructive intent, which in itself is an extenuating circumstance.
The court heard that on 31 October last year, at around 5pm, Sibanda and his wife arrived at Jennifer Nkomoâ€™s homestead to check on traditional beer that was being brewed there.
In the kitchen hut, Dube asked people who were present about her NetOne recharge card she had left there the previous day.
She also asked her husband about the card and this did not go down well with Sibanda who claimed that the recharge card she was looking for had been given to her by a boyfriend.
He slapped her in the cheek and when she tried to run away, Sibanda took a wooden bench which was in the kitchen hut, struck her on the head and all over the body with it.
She ran out of the kitchen hut and he followed her, picked up a log and assaulted her all over the body until she fell down.
Sibanda dragged her outside the yard still assaulting her. Once outside the yard, Sibanda picked up a stone and struck her and she fell down and lost consciousness.
She died as a result of the injuries she had sustained from the assault.
According to the postmortem report, Dubeâ€™s body had bruises all over, skull and jaw fracture and the pathologist concluded that the cause of death was sub-arachnoid haemorrhage as a result of a depressed skull fracture caused by an assault.
Ms Nonhlanhla Ndlovu, of the Attorney Generalâ€™s Office, prosecuted and Mr Vuyisile Jamela Mpofu, of Cheda and Partners defended Sibanda pro deo.
Appearing before the same court, another villager from Lupane District, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally stabbing a shop owner following a misunderstanding at a gambling school.
Frank Moyo (37), of Gandangula Village pleaded not guilty to the murder of Monday Ndlovu (56) but tendered a limited plea of guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
Justice Cheda, who is on circuit in Hwange, found him not guilty of murder but guilty of culpable homicide.
One year of his sentence was suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
In passing sentence, Justice Cheda noted that the circumstances under which the offence was committed were very disturbing.
â€œLife has been lost unnecessarily. This is negligence in the extreme and your blameworthiness is quite high,â€ said the judge.
The court heard that Ndlovu owned a carpentry shop at Gandangula Business Centre.
On 18 October last year, at around 8pm, Moyo, Ndlovu, Sibangani Tshuma and Felix Gumbo, were gambling at Ndlovuâ€™s shop.
Moyo and Gumbo opened the game and Moyo used his Nokia cellphone while Gumbo put $20 to bet. Moyo lost the bet.
Next to play was Gumbo and Ndlovu and Gumbo used the cellphone he had won to bet and lost to Ndlovu.
Moyo then demanded his cellphone back leading to a misunderstanding between him, Gumbo and Ndlovu.
In the course of the argument, Moyo hit Gumbo on the left shoulder with a mallet and threatened to stab him. Gumbo ran away from the scene.
Moyo and Ndlovu remained at the gambling school still embroiled in an argument over the return of the cellphone.
Ndlovu called his son Fikenjani, who is a member of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee, to come and help break the impasse. The son tried to persuade the pair to go to bed and resolve the matter on the following day.
Ndlovu proceeded to his shop intending to retire for the night but Moyo followed him still demanding his cellphone.
Ndlovu then assaulted Moyo with an unknown object and a fist fight ensued. They fought until they got to an open space at the business centre.
Fikenjani pleaded with them to stop fighting and eventually got in between them. Moyo accused Fikenjani of teaming up with his father, pulled out a knife and tried to stab him but he blocked him with his arm and sustained a cut on the left wrist.
Fikenjani went to seek treatment and Moyo then stabbed Ndlovu on the left arm and in the chest leading to his instant death.
According to the postmortem report which was produced in court as an exhibit, the cause of Ndlovuâ€™s death was haemorrhagic shock caused by a stab wound.
Mr Khumbulani Ndlovu, of the Attorney Generalâ€™s Office prosecuted and Mr Tichaona Charles Mukuku, of Marondedze, Mukuku, Ndove and Partners defended Moyo pro deo.
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