Thandeka Moyo Court Reporter
A regional magistrate yesterday acquitted Birthwell Sibanda, a serial murderer, rapist and robbery suspect, of raping three of his victims.Trynos Utahwashe said the state witnesses failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was indeed Sibanda who raped and robbed them.
He therefore acquitted him of the three counts of rape. Sibanda, 22, is yet to to answer to four counts of murder. “It’s clear that no identification parade was conducted and that the first witness failed to identify the accused. The source of light available used on the day she alleges she was raped, also makes it difficult for the court to believe it was Sibanda who raped her since it was during the night,” said Utahwashe.
He, however, said Sibanda stands convicted of 11 counts of robbery and will be sentenced today.
One of the women victims told the court that Sibanda raped her while in the company of two other men on March 27 at around 2AM.
Prosecuting Robin Mukura told the court that on March 20 last year, Sibanda of Old Pumula pounced on Obert Mabaya who was in the company of his girlfriend.
Mukura said the couple was in their Nissan Sunny car which was parked at a secluded spot in the Hyde Park area of Pumula.
Sibanda pulled out a knife and threatened to kill them. He is alleged to have taken away a Nokia 5230 cellphone, $20, a black wallet belonging to Mabaya and $3 from his girlfriend.
Using the same method, Sibanda robbed Eliah Zvimba and took away a Compaq laptop, charger, satchel, I-pad, LG and Samsung cellphones as well as $35 at knife point, the court heard.
Mukura said on March 26, at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in New Lobengula, Sibanda robbed Zephaniah Mlawuzi of his Mazda Demio vehicle, two cellphones and $60 at knife point. He thereafter ordered Mlawuzi to remove his clothes and forced him to leave the scene of the crime naked.
Mukura said on March 27, Sibanda continued with his robbing spree, stealing from three different people. He allegedly took away five cellphones, a laptop, R600, $15 and car keys from Raymond Shonhiwa, Ngonidzashe Kangani and a woman he raped before robbing.
He allegedly raped the woman in a bushy area between Old Pumula and Robert Sinyoka area. The court heard that on April 24, Sibanda met Movias Ngwenya who was driving a Nissan Caravan vehicle and produced a knife, took his motor vehicle, two Samsung cellphones, $22 and R30 in cash, his khaki shorts, a red pair of panties and blue shorts forcing him to go home naked.
Ngwenya made a report at Luveve Police Station and the vehicle was later recovered. On the same day Sibanda allegedly robbed Leviticus Jambawa of his Honda Ballade motor vehicle, a G-Tel cellphone and $30. He also took his clothes leaving him naked. The matter was reported at Njube Police Station.
Sibanda and two of his accomplices Webster Ndlovu, 26, of Mabusela Flats and Thabani Lunga, 27, of Mpopoma allegedly killed two lovers and dumped their bodies in a drain in Nkulumane last year.
Sibanda and his two accomplices reportedly connived killing the two love birds. They first robbed Mthabisi Dube before taking turns to rape his girlfriend Lokukhanya Ncube and thereafter killed the couple in April last year.
The couple’s bodies were found in an advanced state of decomposition in a grass filled drain at the corner of Intemba and Rangemore Roads in Nkulumane 12.