A well known braai stall operator at a popular drinking spot in Masvingo town will spend the next 15 years in prison after he was convicted of raping a seven-year-old minor.
Bernard Chigova (age not given), affectionately known as Benzo among patrons who frequent Stop Over bar, was initially sentenced to 17 years behind bars but two years were conditionally suspended for five years.
Chigova pleaded not guilty to the crime when he appeared before Masvingo regional magistrate, Judith Zuyu this past week.
He admitted however in his defence, he made an attempt on the minor but denied penetrating into her private parts.
The disgraced Chigova told court he only rubbed his organ on the girl's thighs, further challenging the contents of the medical report, which confirmed there was penetration although the assailant failed to break the girl's hymen.
It is the state's case that Chigova, February 3 this year, and at around 2pm, visited the juvenile's home in Clipsham and found her sleeping in her room.
He had previously stayed with the minor's family as a tenant and knew the setup of the house.
Chigova, it is further alleged, entered the girl's bedroom and raped the screaming girl once.
Neighbours who heard her crying rushed to find Chigova in the act.
He hurriedly dressed up and fled the scene but not before the neighbours could positively identify him.
A police report was later made, leading to his arrest.
Mukai Mutume and Sophia Bhusvumani stood for the state.