Midlands Bureau Chief
A 42-YEAR-OLD Silobela man has been sentenced to five years in prison for fatally assaulting his 15-year-old daughter using a fan belt accusing her of having a boyfriend.
Appearing yesterday before Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Martin Makonese, sitting at the Gweru High Court Circuit, facing one count of murdering his daughter was Benjamin Mpanduki of Village Mabhena, Mpinda 3, Chief Malisa in Silobela.
Mpanduki pleaded not guilty to murder but to a lesser charge of culpable homicide.
Justice Makonese sentenced him to five years in prison.
He said for the murder of his daughter, Pamela Believer, Mpanduki was going to serve four years.
Justice Makonese said the other 12 months were brought from a sentence that was suspended when Mpanduki was handed a 24-month sentence for domestic violence in 2017.
“In 2017, the accused appeared before a magistrate and was handed a 24 month sentence for assaulting his wife. 12 months were suspended on condition of good behavior and the remainder was suspended on condition he performed 360 hours of community service. The accused was then arrested before he completed his community service and he committed another crime involving violence before five years elapsed meaning the court has brought in the 12 months. So, the accused is sentenced to five years,” said Justice Makonese.
The judge said parents should exercise restraint when they discipline their children.
He said after assaulting his daughter until she could no longer cry, Mpanduki went and slept in his tuck-shop instead of taking her to receive medical attention.
“It will be a miscarriage of justice if the accused got a non-custodial sentence. Children have rights too especially the right to life even if they have erred in the eyes of their parents,” said Justice Makonese.
Prosecutor Mr Mandla Ndlovu told the court that on July 11, 2017 and at about 9PM, the now-deceased was at home in the company of her mother, Loriate Mupasa and her two siblings.
He said Mpanduki arrived and indicated that he wanted to discipline her claiming that she was having an affair with a certain Pride Chando, a young man from the same village.
“It is said that on July 11 at around 9PM Pamela Believer Mpanduki was at home with her mother and siblings when her father Benjamin Mpanduki started accusing her of having an affair with a local boy. The father started assaulting Pamela all over the body with a grinding mill belt made of rubber several times all over her body,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said Pamela’s mother tried in vain to restrain Mpanduki.
After the assault, the court heard that Ms Mupasa took her daughter to her bedroom hut whilst Mpanduki went and slept in their tuck shop.
“The following morning at about 6AM the mother went to check on her daughter only to find her dead. The matter was reported to the police who attended the scene and observed injuries on her body,” said Mr Ndlovu.
He said Mpanduki was arrested after being on the run for some time.