A Chiredzi man, raped his 10 year old step-daughter and colluded with his wife in a bid to conceal the heinous act by applying methylated spirit on the minor's injured private parts, a local court heard recently.
The couple who cannot be named for ethical reasons, is being tried separately at the Chiredzi Magistrates Courts.
Chiredzi regional Magistrate Judith Zuyu, caged the man, aged 36, to an effective 18 years in jail after convicting him of the offence.
He was initially slapped with a 20 year jail sentence but two years were conditionally suspended. His wife will be back in court on 28 March charged with negligence and defeating the course of justice after she allegedly tried to heal her daughter's private parts using methylated spirit soon after the rape.
The woman is the biological mother of the victim from her previous marriage.
In passing judgment Magistrate Zuyu said the man committed a serious offence, which will traumatise the minor for the rest of her life.
She said the man was supposed to act as a father figure and protect his step-daughter but in turn went on to sexually abuse her.
The Magistrate also highlighted that rapes cases involving close relatives were on the increase and the man deserved a deterrent sentence to warn those who would be offenders.
Prosecutors told the Court that sometime in January this year, the couple collected the minor from the rural areas where she was staying with her maternal grandparents to come and stay with them in Chiredzi town.
It was the State's case that during the same month, the man repeatedly raped the minor and each time she opened up to her mother about the attack, she was told to remain silent.
As if that was not enough, Magistrate Zuyu heard that the woman would then apply methylated spirit on the injured girl's private parts in an attempt to get them to heal.
The matter came to light after a neighbor questioned the minor why she was having difficulties in walking and the minor opened up about her ordeal. The matter was then reported to the police leading to the arrest of the couple.