Mashudu Netsianda Senior Court Reporter
A MAID from hell who wrapped a 10-month-old baby in a heavy blanket and locked him in a drawer for making “too much noise” was jailed for 22 years yesterday. Violet Moyo (pictured top), 22, of Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb, was told by a Bulawayo High Court judge that she was “cruel” as she was convicted of murder with actual intent.
Justice Kamocha told her: “You killed the innocent infant in a very cruel and brutal manner. Indeed stories of domestic workers committing all sorts of crimes against their employers’ children are always in the newspapers, but sadly despite those media reports, the perpetrators seem undeterred. Time has come for such people to be dealt with in a harsh and adequate manner.”
Justice Kamocha said the young maid had admitted, during the trial, that she “suffocated an innocent infant by wrapping him in a heavy blanket and stuffing him in a linen drawer with limited air circulation like a parcel.”
He added: “Despite the baby’s distressed cry, you chose to ignore him and went to the lounge to watch a television movie, which is quite clear that you really wanted to kill him. You’re accordingly found guilty of murder with actual intent.”
The judge said although Moyo was genuinely contrite for her actions, the crime she committed deserved a lengthy prison term.
He said the courts had a duty to uphold the sanctity of human life. Justice Kamocha also dismissed Moyo’s claim that she had mood swings caused by a pregnancy when she committed the crime.
Moyo, taking the witness stand on Wednesaday, told the court that she was feeling “moody” and was irritated by the toddler’s cries.
Moyo also told the court that the baby was disturbing her from doing other household chores. The child minder said she intended to muffle the baby’s cries so that he would not attract the attention of neighbours, fearing that they would report her to her employers.
Angeline Munyeriwa, who prosecuted, said on February 1, 2013, shortly after 7AM, Moyo was left in custody of young Ethan Muthabisi Phiri by the child’s parents.
The court heard Moyo fed the baby with porridge before she went to the bedroom and put him to sleep. “After about five hours, the baby woke up and started crying and Moyo tried to calm it but her efforts were in vain,” said Munyeriwa.
Incensed by the baby’s cries, the court heard that Moyo wrapped the infant in a blanket and put him in a linen drawer at the head of a bed and closed it, leaving the baby to suffocate.
Moyo then went to the lounge where she switched on the television and started watching movies.
The baby suffocated due to lack of oxygen.
After about three hours, Moyo went back to check on the baby and found him dead.
The court heard that Moyo lied to neighbours that the baby had fallen off the bed.