By Mashudu Netsianda
A man from Nkayi allegedly killed his handicapped three-year-old son and secretly buried his body in a shallow grave after prophets claimed the toddler was a goblin.
Jeremaya Sibanda (39) of Sikhobokhobo village allegedly struck his son, Forgiveness using a blunt object on the head, killing him instantly before he wrapped the toddler in a blanket and buried the body in a shallow grave in his backyard.
The incident occurred at Lot 032 Umguza Irrigation Scheme in Umguza District.
Sibanda appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo yesterday facing a murder charge. He was remanded in custody to today for judgment.
Prosecuting, Ms Nokuthaba Ngwenya said on June 21 in 2015 at around 2PM, Sibanda was left at home by his wife who had tasked him to look after their son while she went to do laundry at a nearby waterway.
The court heard that soon after his wife’s departure, Sibanda hatched a plan to kill his disabled son.
He allegedly took an unknown blunt object and struck the deceased on the head and he died on the spot. Sibanda left the body lying on the floor in the dining room and followed his wife.
“After committing the offence, the accused person followed his wife to inform her about the death. Upon arrival, Accurate queried her son’s death and demanded an explanation from her husband after discovering that the toddler was bleeding through the nose, mouth and ears,” said Ms Ngwenya.
The court heard that Sibanda threatened to kill his wife if she divulged the information to anyone about what had transpired.
The following day, Sibanda took the body to the bathroom and bathed it in a tub before wrapping it in a blanket. He then dug a shallow grave at their backyard and buried the body.
Two days later, Sibanda escorted his wife to the bus stop so that she could catch a bus to Binga where she was to deliver the news of the death to her parents.
“In their bid to conceal the murder, Sibanda told his wife to go back to her rural home in Binga and return after three years,” said Ms Ngwenya.
Upon the wife’s arrival in Binga, she informed her mother Ms Lucia Nyoni and a report was made to police leading to Sibanda’s arrest.
Accurate yesterday took to the witness stand and narrated how her husband constantly accused her relatives of bewitching their son.
She told the court that Sibanda assaulted her when she asked him to immediately advise their neighbours and relatives about their son’s death.
Accurate said her husband discriminated against their son whom he described as a goblin.
“My husband never liked our son because of his condition to an extent that he believed that he was a goblin after prophets told him so. He killed our son, saying he could not continue keeping a goblin,” she said.
In his defence through his lawyer, Mr Byron Sengweni of Sengweni Legal Practice, Sibanda said he was advised by prophets to kill his son because they told him that he was a goblin.
However, when he took to the witness stand, Sibanda feigned ignorance of the events that led to the death of his son.
“On that particular day, I cannot comprehend what actually happened and I really apologise because I was not mentally stable. Each time I took my son to the prophets they would tell me that he was a goblin,” he said.
However, a psychiatric report compiled by doctors concluded that Sibanda did not suffer from any mental disorder.
According to a post mortem report, the cause of death was due to severe head trauma, skull base fracture and subarachnoid haemorrhage. The Chronicle