Mental patient kills Grade 7 pupil Police officers collect the body of a Grade 7 pupil Natasha Manunure who was fatally struck with a stone while on her way from school in Mtapa Suburb in Gweru on Tuesday

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
Tragedy struck a couple in Mtapa, Gweru, when their daughter, a Grade 7 pupil, died on the spot after she was allegedly struck by a mental patient with a stone on the left ear while on her way from school.

The 12-year-old girl, Natasha Manunure, eye witnesses said, was struck with a big stone just a few metres away from her home in Section 3, Maliwa Road also in Mtapa suburb.

She was returning home from Sandara Primary School and was walking along Nyonizonke Road while concentrating on an Agriculture Paper 1 question paper she was holding.

Grade 7 pupils are writing that paper today.

The person who allegedly struck her with a stone is a well-known mental patient called Derick who stays at Mtapa Cemetery.

When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the scene at around 3PM, residents had thronged the area with the police and Natasha’s parents working on removing her body from the road before taking it to Gweru Provincial Hospital mortuary.

An eyewitness, Mr Sydlen Chimalizeni, who resides at a house close to where the incident occured, said he heard a noise which sounded like a firecracker followed by a sharp scream before he went out to investigate.

He said he saw Natasha lying on the ground groaning in pain.

Mr Chimalizeni said from a distance, he saw Derick running from the scene.

“I knelt down intending to perform first aid on the girl but before I knew it, some white foam started coming out of her mouth. There was a lot of blood all over the scene,” he said.

Mr Chimalizeni said Derick was allegedly a mental patient who was notorious for assaulting and pelting with stones, girls and women in Mtapa and Mambo suburbs.

“So, word was sent to Natasha’s parents and they attended the scene together with the police before her body was ferried to Gweru Provincial Hospital mortuary. Derick was also caught by members of the community and was handed over to the police,” he said.

Natasha’s grandmother, Mrs Sophia Zivanai said her granddaughter who had a bright future died while preparing for her examinations.

“Natasha was holding some papers; she was revising for her exams. I’m so hurt and am in pain. How could this happen to her. It’s not the first time that Derick has been on the wrong side of the law and it’s unfortunate that this has happened to my granddaughter, we have lost an intelligent child. Funeral arrangements are underway,” she said.

Mrs Lyza Mushonga who stays in Mambo said Derick allegedly struck her son with a stone on the face leaving him with 10 stitches.

She said they allegedly reported him to the police but no action was taken.

“I stay in Mambo and when I heard that there was a child who had died after being struck by Derick with a stone, I quickly rushed here and it’s unfortunate that I know this family. I know this girl. This Derick is a nuisance and we have been living in fear of him,” said Mrs Mushonga.

Another resident, Mrs Shaylee Jambayo, said two weeks ago, her grandchild was struck on the right shoulder with a stone allegedly by Derick.

“Derick struck my granddaughter who coincidentally was in the same class with Natasha and she is still in pain. Her hand is not functioning and is having difficulties writing her Grade 7 exams. As residents we are sick and tired of Derick but no action is being taken.

He should have been in a mental institution and not on the streets harassing and killing innocent children. May the law take its course,” she said.

Natasha’s brother, Marvelous, said it was a dark day for him and his family after losing his sister who had a bright future.

He said Natasha died a few metres from home.

“People came and told us that she had been struck with a stone and I quickly rushed here and found Derick gone. So, I ran towards Mambo Shops and caught him there with the assistance of fellow villagers and handed him over to the police. We were four siblings and with Natasha gone we are now three and it’s a bitter pill to swallow,” said Marvelous.

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