A JILTED Lupane man, who fatally struck his estranged wife with a hammer after she came back to their matrimonial home to collect her belongings, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for murder with constructive intent.
By Tinashe Mungazi
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese heard that Nhlanhla Sithole (37) of Mafinyela village in Lupane was irked when his former wife, Florence Jede, came back home to collect her belongings accusing him of infidelity. He armed himself with a hammer and hoe handle and bludgeoned her to death.
The incident happened on July 5 last year.
Makonese bemoaned the increase in domestic violence cases.
“The courts will continue to frown at people who take the law into their own hands. The courts will also continue to shun domestic violence which will bring about death. Accused was at pain and the court unanimously agrees that there was no provocation to warrant accused’s behaviour. His conduct was deplorable and the injuries noted in the post mortem shows that used excessive force and multiple blows which is inconsistent to your claims that you struck her once,” he said.
Sithole through his pro deo lawyer, Sithabile Daka, said he acted out of provocation after claiming that Jede had insulted him.
“Accused only attacked deceased after being insulted about his mother which angered him. He did not have the intention to cause the death of deceased or foresee the possibility of death, but admits that he negligently caused the death of deceased,” he said.
The State, led by Memory Munsaka, said on July 5, 2017 at around 7pm, Jede, who was in the company of Nonsikelelo Nyoni, arrived at her former home from her mother’s homestead intending to collect some of her property. She, however, found Sithole absent and decided to sleep over awaiting his return. Sithole came back home the following day and found Jede, who told him that she wanted to collect her blankets, plates and pots.
Sithole, however, told Jede that he had given away her belongings to his second wife. Jede and her niece proceeded to Sikhangele Moyo’s homestead adjacent to Sithole’s place to spend the night. Two days later, Jede went back to her former husband’s place, leaving her niece behind. Nyoni followed her aunt to Sithole’s homestead and found the two arguing.
Sithole then held Jede by the collar and struck her with the hammer on the left side of the head and she started bleeding profusely. Nyoni failed to restrain her uncle and sought help from a neighbour, however, when they arrived at the homestead they found Jede lying in a pool of blood. Sithole had fled from the scene. Police recovered a blood stained hammer and hoe handle which had been used to assault Jede.
A post-mortem report produced in court revealed that Jede suffered a depressed skull and multiple fractures.