A 43-YEAR-OLD Gweru man, who last December, petrol bombed and killed his estranged girlfriend and her cousin, was yesterday sentenced to death by High Court judge, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi.
BY Stephen Chadenga
Garikai Zvawanda Tabarinda, from Old Ascot suburb, was convicted on two counts of murder with actual intent, for causing the death of his ex-girlfriend, Nancy Sibanda, and her cousin, Cynthia Hlabangana.
Tabarinda’s co-accused, Itai Manyoka, who was hired by the former when he committed the heinous crime, was found guilty of being an accessory to murder and slapped with a 15-year jail term.
In passing sentence, Justice Mathonsi described Tabarinda as a “cantankerous” man, who had turned the life of his ex-lover into hell.
The judge said the murder was premeditated, adding that the aggravating circumstances in the case left the courts with no option, but to arrive at capital punishment.
“The court has run out of words to describe the savage and banditry displayed by the first accused (Tabarinda),” he said.
“This is murder committed in the most gruesome manner by people without respect for human life.”
Justice Mathonsi said although Manyoka, as an accomplice, did not have an actual hand in the killings, he had chosen to associate himself with Tabarinda’s criminal enterprises after the latter had committed the offence.
He said Manyoka’s involvement was out of foolishness and love for beer, as well as some little cash he got for being hired as a taxi driver.
The State’s case was that on December 2 last year at around 2am, Tabarinda hired Manyoka and the two went to a service station, where the former bought nine litres of petrol.
They proceeded to House Number 343 Fusire Road, Old Ascot, Gweru, where Tabarinda broke the window of the room where the now-deceased persons were sleeping. He poured the fuel into the room before setting it on fire and rushed to the car, where Manyoka was parked before fleeing from the scene.
Sibanda and Hlabangana were rescued from the inferno and rushed to Gweru General Hospital, from where they were later referred to Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare.
According to a medical report, Hlabangana died from 55% level burns on December 4, while Sibanda succumbed to 60% level burns two days later.