THE young man who murdered a woman on a farm in the Bindura area last year, because she had refused his advances, has been jailed by the High Court for 17 years, escaping the gallows because the court found extenuating circumstances over his degree of blameworthiness.
Landulani Lomosi, of Lognaha Farm in Bindura, pleaded not guilty before Justice Robinson sitting with Mr Oliver Kuwana and Mr Stanley Tutani to the murder of Miss Tarirai Kapfavira.
The court convicted him of murder after finding he had hit the girl with a bicycle wheel rim, but found extenuating circumstances since he had only intended to injure, not kill the girl, and had acted on the spur of the moment in fury. Miss Kapfavira's father Mr Cabussano Kapfavira, said on March 18 last year, he sent his daughter to a neighbouring farm to collect the bicycle wheel rim and to buy some mealie-meal.
She failed to return and her body was found the next day by a search party.
Describing Lomosi's movements on the day, Mr Chavi Kumusani said Lomosi had joined him and his brother on a fishing trip to a dam, acting as the sentry since fishing was banned.
But at about 2pm, Lomosi saw Miss Kapfavira go by and followed her. He returned after about four hours, running, panting and sweating. He was no longer wearing his tennis shoes and the sleeves of his shirt were folded. Lomosi said he had been to a field to cut some maize, Mr Kumusani said.
Detective Sergeant Muzunzo testified that he saw signs of a struggle at the place where the body was found, as well as a pair of Sandak shoes, a belt, a purse and a blood-stained packet of mealie-meal and the bicycle wheel rim. The woman's dress and petticoat had been pulled up, and there were wounds on the back of her head. Det Sgt Muzunzo and Det Sgt Mukashera then found a shirt cuff, and that led them to Lomosi.
A post-mortem found that death was caused by a fracture of the cervical spine and haemorrhagic shock.
In his defence, Lomosi denied that he intended to kill the young woman. When he made amorous advances, she threatened to make a report to her father. To give her the grounds for a genuine complaint, he slapped her on the face with an open hand and she retaliated by throwing the wheel rim at him.
He wrenched the rim out of her hands, and in the heat of the moment and using moderate force, he hit her with the rim on the back of her neck and left her sitting on the ground. He believed she would go home and make a report of the assault.
He claimed he did not intend to kill, as he merely chastised her for making unreasonable threats against him.
Mr Duncan Dingana appeared for the State and Mr W. Madzivire for Lomosi.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
- Zimbabwe marks 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence as statistics on GBV continue to rise. How will the war be won?
- Deterrent sentences are welcome, but the justice system should consider effects on victims. 17 years on, the perpetrator has been released and living life to the full. How about the trauma on the victim's family?
- Victims of GBV must assert themselves and report. Not an easy prescription. The young woman is a heroine because she lost her life after threatening to report the assault.
- This is also a wake-up call for the media to report objectively, instead of using language that sympathises with perpetrators.
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