Mashudu Netsianda / Fairness Moyana Chronicle Reporters
A MAN who killed his girlfriend for allegedly cheating on him with her ex-lover, before burying her in a shallow grave to conceal the crime, was yesterday sentenced to an effective 22 years in jail.
Qinisela Sibanda, 31, of Lupane tendered a limited plea of guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Francis Bere on circuit in Hwange convicted him of murder with constructive intent in connection with the death of Judith Mlauzi, 33, on March 13 last year.
Sibanda cracked her skull before stripping her and hiding her clothes in the bush.
Justice Bere ruled that Sibanda’s testimony was fraught with inconsistencies.
“If Sibanda genuinely loved his girlfriend he would not have acted in the manner he did. His story claiming that he was assaulted by Mlauzi’s ex-boyfriend is not true,” said the judge.
He said the postmortem report was inconsistent with the manner in which Sibanda purported to have assaulted Mlauzi.
“One of the most highlighted injuries in the post mortem report was that there was a skull bone fracture which clearly indicates that excessive force was used,” he said.
The judge said Mlauzi’s death has jeopardised the lives of her four young children who relied on her for their welfare.
Justice Bere also urged people to desist from violence in the event of disputes.
He said: “We hope the period you will be away from society will help you reflect on what you did and reform you.”
Prosecutors said on March 13 last year, Mlauzi who stayed in Nyamandlovu was sent to Bulawayo by her mother to collect her pension money.
On her return during the same day, she phoned Sibanda so that they could meet at a bus stop at Ticehurst Business Centre.
The court heard that on her arrival, Mlauzi met her lover and they walked away from the business centre. They were spotted by Sibanda’s cousin, Mduduzi Mpala and his friends Lindani Moyo and Norgen Moyo.
The two had a misunderstanding which led to Sibanda to assaulting Mlauzi with an unknown object leading to her death.
He then undressed her and tied a rope around her neck before digging a shallow grave and burying her.
“Sibanda also hid Mlauzi’s clothes, purse and the shovel that he used to dig the grave to conceal the evidence,” said Namatirai Ngwasha, prosecuting.
The matter came to light when dogs dug up Mlauzi’s remains which were in an advanced state of decomposition.
A report was made to the police leading to Sibanda’s arrest.
He, through his lawyer, Givemore Muvhiringi, said it was not his intention to kill his girlfriend. He claimed he was angered after being attacked with a log by her ex-boyfriend.
“I didn’t intend to kill her. When I collected her from the bus stop and had walked for a distance a man came from behind and asked me what I was doing with his girlfriend before attacking me with a log. I ran away and was joined later by Mlauzi and she told me that it was her ex-boyfriend who was trying to impose himself on her,” said Sibanda.
“I got angry and slapped her and she retaliated and that prompted me to strike her three times below the ear with my fists and she fell on the ground,” he claimed.
He said after noticing that she had passed out he tried to render first aid but she was already dead. Sibanda said he was afraid to inform Mlauzi’s sister when she asked him about her whereabouts.
According to the postmortem, the cause of death was due to cervical and head trauma.