A West Nicholson man escaped the hangman’s noose after he was sentenced to a 10-year prison term on Monday for fatally assaulting his 13-year-old nephew who had accidentally burnt the family’s grass-thatched hut.
Innocent Phiri (42) pleaded not guilty to murder and was lucky to be convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha.
Nonhlanhla Ndlovu from the Attorney-General’s Office told the court sometime in August 2006, the now-deceased, Nation Phiri, accidentally burnt a hut at the homestead where he was living with his grandmother, Margaret Sibanda.
A few days later, Innocent who lived in another village visited the homestead where the nephew lived.
He was briefed about the incident by his mother.
In a fit of rage, he asked the boy to accompany him to the kraal, but led him to the fields where he whipped him with switches from a mopane tree.
The lad’s grandmother followed them and later found her grandson being assaulted while lying on the ground.
Sibanda also discovered the boy was not breathing properly and had bruises all over the body.
She rushed back home to fetch a wheelbarrow and ferried him home where he eventually died around midnight from the wounds he had sustained during the beating.