Convicted murderer waits nearly a decade for sentence

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A man who was found guilty of murdering his girlfriend in 2001 will be sentenced on June 7 – nine years after he was convicted.

Nqobile Sibanda (38) was found guilty of murder by Justice Fergus Blackie in 2002, but in a strange twist of events the judge was arrested before he could sentence Sibanda.

Justice Blackie was arrested for allegedly trying to disrupt the course of justice in another matter.

When he was finally released, Justice Blackie immediately left for South Africa from where he sent his resignation letter.

The departure of Justice Blackie marked the beginning of Sibanda’s long wait for justice.

The state contends that Sibanda, who was a Seventh Day Adventist Church youth leader in 2001, impregnated his girlfriend, but disowned the pregnancy.

Once the pregnancy became public knowledge church elders allegedly put Sibanda under pressure to accept responsibility.

A month later, Sibanda’s girlfriend disappeared from her home only to be found dead a week later along the Nyanga Rusape road in Rusape. Her dead body was nude and had “at least five convex shaped stab wounds”.

Police investigations found blood stains matching the deceased and her unborn foetus inside Sibanda’s car and in the boot. The blood of the foetus matched that of Sibanda. There also were 15 stab marks on the seats and roof of Sibanda’s car.

Sibanda was arrested, tried and convicted of murder with actual intent. He has been waiting for his sentence in remand prison since then.

The state proved that Sibanda’s motive was that he did not want a baby with the deceased.

The matter was now under Justice Francis Bere who was expected to sentence Sibanda on June 7 2010.