Courts and Law

75-year-old headman axed wife to death

A 75-YEAR-OLD village head in Dombodema in Plumtree allegedly struck his wife with an axe for allegedly cheating on him before shoving the body into a plastic bag and secretly buried it in an anthill to conceal the offence.

Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo heard this when Foreman Sibanda of Village 13, Vulindlela Ward in Bulilima district appeared before her on Tuesday facing a murder charge in connection with the death of his wife, Petty Sibanda (66).

He was remanded in custody to today for judgment.

Sibanda allegedly struck his wife with an axe in November last year after accusing her of having an extra-marital affair.

He then allegedly put the body in a plastic bag before using a wheelbarrow to carry the body to his fields where he buried it in an anthill.

The offence came to light two weeks later after Sibanda decided to reveal what he had done to his son.

Upon exhumation, the body was in an advanced state of decomposition making it impossible for pathologists to determine the cause of death.

Prosecuting, Mr Blessing Gundani said on November 11 last year at around 6AM, Sibanda and his wife were at their homestead when an altercation ensued.

The dispute emanated from the fact that Sibanda accused his wife of having an extra-marital affair.

The court heard that after the dispute, the deceased left the accused person in their kitchen hut and went to her bedroom.

Sibanda went to a separate bedroom where he picked an axe and followed the deceased to her bedroom.

The two were now sleeping in separate bedrooms because of the misunderstanding.

“The accused person took an axe and went to the deceased’s bedroom hut and confronted her over the matter. They had a misunderstanding and Sibanda struck her three times on the back of the head and she died on the spot,” said Mr Gundani.

Upon realising that his wife was no longer breathing, Sibanda put the body into a plastic bag and placed it in a wheelbarrow before pushing it to the fields where he buried the body in an anthill.

The court heard that two weeks later, Sibanda phoned his son, Khayelihle who is based in South and disclosed to him what had happened.

Khayelihle then contacted his aunt via WhatsApp and notified her about the incident. The matter was reported to the police leading to Sibanda’s arrest.

Sibanda led police to the anthill where the remains were buried and they were exhumed.

According to the post-mortem report, the immediate cause of death could not be ascertained due to the advanced state of decomposition of the body.

In his defence through his lawyer Mr Nkosi Sibanda of Tanaka Law Chambers, the accused person said he acted in the heat of a moment following a misunderstanding with the deceased whom he accused of infidelity.

“I confronted my wife about her extra-marital affair since she had not been sleeping home in the days preceding the murder. We engaged in a heated argument and I pushed her and she fell on the bed before I struck her three times on the head using the back of an axe,” he said.

Sibanda said it was not his intention to kill his wife, arguing that he only intended to reprimand her for cheating on him.

“I loved my wife so much and it really pained me when I discovered that she was cheating on me. I regret my actions but beating her was a way of showing that I still loved and cared for her. I didn’t realise that my actions would lead to her untimely death,” he said. —The chronicle

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