Mashudu Netsianda Senior Court Reporter
A MAID allegedly wrapped her employer’s 10-month-old baby in a blanket and stashed him in a drawer for three hours for making “too much” noise, a Bulawayo High Court judge heard yesterday.
Violet Moyo, 22, of Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb then left the toddler who suffocated as she watched a movie on television.
Justice Lawrence Kamocha heard this when Moyo appeared before him in connection with the murder of Ethan Muthabisi Phiri in 2013.
Prosecuting, Angeline Munyeriwa said on February 1 shortly after 7AM, Moyo was left in custody of the 10-month-old child by the baby’s parents. The maid fed the baby porridge, put him to sleep and went about her other household chores.
“After about five hours, the baby woke up and started crying and Moyo tried to calm him but her efforts were in vain,” said Munyeriwa.
Incensed by the baby’s cries, the court heard, Moyo allegedly wrapped him in a blanket and placed him in a drawer and closed it.
The baby suffocated as Moyo was watching television in the lounge. After about three hours, the maid went back to check on the baby and found him dead.
The court heard that a terrified Moyo lied to neighbours that the baby had fallen off the bed.
Faith Natasha Mlalazi, a state witness, struggled to hold back tears as she gave her testimony in court yesterday.
“I was cleaning my kitchen windows when Moyo, who appeared unsettled and in panic mode approached me. She told me that her employer’s baby had fallen off the bed and we hurried to the bedroom where we found the baby stuck in a small space between the bed and a headboard,” she said.
“I lifted the baby as Moyo was screaming and discovered some white substance coming out of its nostrils and mouth which was also swollen. I held the baby and tossed him hoping that he would wake up, but realised that he was not breathing. I immediately screamed and alerted my neighbour who came to the scene.”
Mlalazi said she had last seen the baby crawling earlier that morning.
“I was so attached to the baby such that I would spend most of my time playing with him,” she said.
Moyo through her lawyer, Prayer Muzvuzvu told the court that it was not her intention to kill the baby.
“My client’s intention wasn’t to kill the baby. She intended to stifle the baby’s cries so that it wouldn’t attract the attention of neighbours fearing that they would report her to her employers,” said Muzvuzvu.
Moyo, who claimed that she was possessed by an evil spirit, confessed in her warned and cautioned statement that she was responsible for the baby’s death.
“I gave the baby porridge and moments later he started crying and I tried to find the reason why he was crying but couldn’t get any. I then got possessed by an evil spirit and wrapped the baby with a blanket and put him in a headboard drawer and closed it. I went to the sitting room to watch television and left it there until it suffocated. I panicked when I discovered that the baby was no longer breathing,” she said.
Moyo said she had decided to put the baby in a drawer because he was making too much noise for her.
“I didn’t know what to do because the baby was making too much noise. That’s why I stashed the tot in a drawer,” she said.
The trial continues tomorrow.