Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Court Reporter
A MAN from Gwanda who murdered a mentally-ill, homeless man and decapitated his head before cutting off his testicles for suspected ritual purposes, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Honest Moyo (24) of Mawane area in Guyu committed the crime in Colleen Bawn two years ago and had intended to smuggle the body parts to South Africa where he expected US$25 000 in payment.
Honest was convicted of murder with actual intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese yesterday.
In passing sentence, Justice Makonese condemned his conduct, saying he was driven by greed to commit the heinous crime.
“Accused person decapitated the deceased’s head and cut off his testicles and harvested them. The heinous crime was motivated by greed and the love of money clouded his faculties. The murder sent shock waves in the local community,” he said.
Justice Makonese said the courts have a duty to protect the sanctity of human life through passing deterrent sentences.
“The accused person did not show any remorse and his moral blameworthiness is very high. He brought shame to his family and were it not for his youthfulness, this court was going to impose the death penalty. The sanctity of human life should be reflected through a harsh prison term. The appropriate punishment is life imprisonment,” ruled the judge.
Honest’s father, Mr Lovemore Moyo, took to the witness stand on Wednesday and narrated how his son brought the decomposing human body parts hidden in a satchel before suggesting that they smuggle them to South Africa.
“I received a phone call from my son on June 21, 2017 at around 9PM while I was at work. He indicated to me that he had impala meat, which he wanted me to send to his mother who is based in South Africa. However, when he brought the so called meat, I became suspicious after sensing a foul smell and on quizzing him he then revealed to me that they were human parts,” he said.
Mr Moyo said he did not bother to check the contents of Honest’s satchel but immediately contacted his wife who is in South Africa and his other son, Mthulisi, who lives in Mawane, Guyu.
“He (Honest) then pleaded with me to assist him smuggle the human body parts to South Africa where he intended to sell them. I then alerted my wife before contacting my other son so that he could investigate the matter,” he said.
The investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Saveus Mwanakwaye said on his arrest, the accused person voluntarily and freely offered to lead them to the scene of the murder for indications.
“When we arrived at the scene, the accused person showed us a shallow grave where he had buried the headless body after removing the head and private parts. He admitted that he stabbed the deceased before cutting off his private parts and head,” he said.
Det Sgt Mwanakwaye said Honest told police he had met one Cosmas Zhou, a local resident, who promised him $25 000 for the body parts.
In his defence through his lawyer, Ms Sharon Mbondiya of Webb, Low and Barry Legal Practitioners, Honest denied murdering the deceased. He argued that he found the man dead and cut off his private parts with the intention of selling them.
“I was looking for my grandmother’s cattle when I stumbled upon the deceased’s body near a dumpsite at Capital Block Farm. I observed that he was dead after which I then cut his head and private parts with the intention of selling them,” he said.
Prosecuting, Ms Nokuthaba Ngwenya said on June 20, 2017, the accused person found the now deceased near Colleen Bawn dumpsite.
He killed and decapitated him. He also cut off his testicles. The court heard how he buried the body in a shallow grave at the dumpsite.
Honest then packed the head and the testicles in his bag and took them to his rural home in Mawane.
The matter came to light after he was visited by his cousin, Mr Thandolwenkosi Ndlovu, who discovered the head in a kitchen hut before bolting out and alerting other villagers. The villagers apprehended Honest and handed him over to the police. He led police to a dumpsite in Colleen Bawn where he had left the mutilated body in a shallow grave.
Detectives recovered the headless body and conveyed it to Gwanda Provincial Hospital mortuary for post-mortem.
According to the post mortem results, the death was due to subarachnoid haemorrhage, blunt force trauma and assault. — @mashnets