25 December 2012

Zambia: Court Sentences Chitika to Death

THE Lusaka High Court has sentenced to death a former Barclays Bank employee David Chitika for killing his wife.

Chitika, 37, strangled his wife, Gladys Mabenga-Chitika, who was daughter of former MMD national chairperson Michael Mabenga.

Chitika, a former Barclays Bank support specialist was sent to the gallows along with his nephew Lawrence Kaunda a student after High Court Judge Flavia Chishimba found them guilty of murder.

The convict, who appeared calm when the two-hour judgment was being read, expressed shock when verdict was passed.

Police quickly whisked away the duo amid weeping from family members.

Ms Justice Chishimba said the court had established over-whelming evidence during trial that the woman was strangled by her husband and dismissed his testimony that she had committed suicide.

"I accordingly find both of you guilty and sentence you to death. My hands are tied as there are no extenuating circumstances to reduce the sentence," she said.

Chitika and Kaunda killed Mabenga between September 10 and 11 in 2010.

The judge said the conduct of Chitika was odd after he was informed by his nephew that his wife had committed suicide as he did not bother to check whether she was still alive.

He instead causally asked Kaunda to call neighbours.

"The other strange behaviour exhibited by the convict was the time he called his five relatives at awkward times including one of his sisters who rushed to the scene and cleaned the bedroom while Kaunda was the one who assisted Chitika to hang Mabenga to claim suicide.

"This behaviour is odd and uncalled for. The police and deceased's relatives were called in the morning," she noted.

Ms Justice Chishimba said of the two post mortem conducted, the most reliable was the second one.

The second post mortem was conclusive and clearly indicated that a dead person could not bleed after committing suicide but that in the case at hand there was some blood in her tissues, an indication that she was strangled.

The judge said there was malice aforethought in the manner the woman was murdered because evidence showed that the duo dragged her from the bedroom and took her to the bathroom.

Ms Justice Chishimba said the two struggled to put her in a hanging position and when Chitika noticed that she was still alive, he strangled her using his bare hands.

After judgement, the deceased's father, Mr Mabenga said the outcome was a Christmas gift.

"We are still mourning, although we mourned deeply when the whole issue happened. It was shocking but what I can say now is that the truth has been revealed," he said.

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