Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
THE trial of a businessman who allegedly fatally assaulted Bulawayo City Council Assistant Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Mbuthi Gugu Mkhwananzi, after the two clashed at a girlfriend’s house, opened at the High Court yesterday.
Spencer Sithole (34) of Hillside suburb in Bulawayo allegedly punched his rival suitor Mkhwananzi (47) and struck him using a dressing table wooden stool in April last year at the woman’s house in Four Winds suburb.
Mkhwananzi died a few days later at Mater Dei Hospital, allegedly due to the injuries sustained as a result of the attack.
The gallery was yesterday packed as relatives of both the accused and the deceased came in their numbers to follow the trial, which made headlines last year.
Sithole appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maxwell Takuva, facing a murder charge.
Prosecuting, Mr Trust Muduma said on April 11 last year at around 7AM, Sithole went to Ms Josephine Morrow’s house in Four Winds suburb intending to collect his car keys.
On arrival, he opened the front door of the house using spare keys and stumbled upon Mkhwananzi and Ms Morrow in bed.
“The deceased was with his girlfriend when the accused person stormed into the house and found them in bed. Sithole got angry and started assaulting Mkhwananzi with fists, dressing table and a wooden stool and he sustained three fractured ribs,” said Mr Muduma.
Mkhwananzi fled from the house bleeding profusely through the mouth and nose.
He was taken to Mater Dei Hospital where he died three days later as a result of multiple injuries sustained during the attack. According to a post mortem report, the cause of death was assault, multiple fractures and respiratory failure.
Ms Morrow (48), who is Sithole’s ex-girlfriend and the woman at the centre of the controversy, yesterday took to the witness stand and narrated how she and Mkhwananzi were savagely attacked by the accused person.
She said when the incident occurred, she had already terminated her relationship with Sithole.
“When the accused walked into my bedroom, he found the two of us in bed and we were naked. He shouted at us before punching the deceased with fists and when I tried to plead with him to stop that is when the heat turned on me and at that stage Mkhwananzi managed to flee,” she said.
Ms Morrow said Sithole struck Mkhwananzi with a stool several times and he bolted out of the room and hid in the cottage.
“I screamed and shouted for help and that is when Sithole dropped the stool and the deceased managed to escape through the door,” she said.
Ms Morrow said Sithole tried to follow Mkhwananzi but failed to locate him and returned to her bedroom where he continued with the attack.
She said she later informed her niece who phoned the police who came and arrested Sithole. Mkhwananzi was found hiding in the cottage bleeding profusely.
In his defence through his lawyer, Mr David Mhiribidi of Mutuso, Mhiribidi and Partners, Sithole said it was not his intention to kill his rival, arguing that he acted out of provocation when he found his girlfriend in bed with another man.
“Due to the state of my mind, I was totally incapable of foreseeing that my conduct could result in the death of the deceased. I lost self-control and delivered a flurry of punches on the deceased and he bled through the nose,” he said.