Man sentenced to 10 years in prison for burning down neighbour’s house over unpaid debt

A Gweru has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after he attacked someone with a metal bar and set his house on fire over an unpaid debt, destroying property worth nearly $1 000.

Tinos Zhira appeared before Gweru provincial Magistrate Mr Morgan Nemadire facing attempted murder charges and pleaded not guilty.  Phineas Mutombe also appeared in court facing the same charges but was acquitted due to lack of evidence.

Zhira was convicted.

Magistrate Nemadire slapped Zhira with a 12 year jail term and suspended two years on condition of good behaviour.

“Through the evidence that was given by the three witnesses, it shows that Mutombe was not the one who accompanied Zhira to confront the complainant.

“They all said that they had never seen Mutombe before and he is not the one who was with Zhira during the night in question therefore I find him not guilty,” said the magistrate.

“On the other hand overwhelming evidence shows that Zhira is the one who went to the complainant’s house and was with someone else who is not Mutombe. Zhira committed a very serious offence which is punishable with a heavy sentence.”

Prosecuting, Mr Lloyd Mavhiza said on July 7 last year at around 7PM, Zhira and Mutombe went to William Tabe’s homestead in Mvuma while he was having supper with his family to demand his money back.

The amount of money that Zhira was owed was not mentioned in court.

“The accused persons called out the complainant’s name and he went out to welcome them. Tabe led them back into the kitchen hut where his wife and three children were having their evening meal,” said Mr Mavhiza.

“As the complainant was reaching for a plastic stool to give to the two accused persons, he was struck with a metal bar once on the head and he fell to the ground. Zhira shouted at the complainant that they had come for their money before he picked up the metal bar from the ground and used it to hit the complainant on his head.”

Mr Mavhiza said the complainant lay helplessly on the floor while his wife and children fled from the kitchen hut and stood outside.

The court heard that the two accused persons got out of the hut before torching it while the complainant was inside.

Tabe managed to crawl out of the hut and sought refuge at a neighbour’s house.

“As a result of the attack the complainant sustained severe injuries and was admitted to Mvuma General Hospital. The value of goods that were destroyed is $989,” said Mr Mavhiza.

Source – online


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