By Mashudu Netsianda
A GWANDA gold dealer has been sentenced to 35 years in jail for stoning his colleague to death before robbing him of R450.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo yesterday convicted Bhekimpilo Moyo, 36, of Spitzkop North suburb, of murder with actual intent, but concluded that there were extenuating circumstances.
Moyo had pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Petros Sibanda, 40.
Justice Moyo concurred with the defence counsel, Bruce Masamvu, that intoxication was an extenuating circumstance.
In her judgment, Justice Moyo rejected Moyo’s defence, saying it was a concocted story and he had killed Sibanda and robbed him of his money out of greed.
“It’s the court’s finding that Moyo killed Sibanda and robbed him of his money so that he could not live to tell the tale. You were driven by greed and you are found guilty of murder with actual intent,” ruled Justice Moyo.
In passing sentence, Justice Moyo said it was the duty of the courts to uphold the sanctity of human life.
“Moyo killed Sibanda during the course of a robbery. He committed an abominable crime of killing a colleague who was buying him beer and indeed that shows ungratefulness on his part. A murder committed in the course of a robbery is conduct that can’t be accepted in our society,” she said.
“The sanctity of life should be emphasised through stiff sentences and you are accordingly sentenced to 35 years in jail”.
Prosecuting, Thompson Hove said on January 7, 2014, shortly after 8PM, Sibanda was drinking beer at Crystal Spirits Nightclub in Gwanda when Moyo joined him.
“As they were drinking beer, Meluleki Dube came and joined Moyo and Sibanda and the trio drank until early morning hours,” said Hove.
The court heard that at about 3AM, Sidingulwazi Ncube, a security guard manning the nightclub, ordered the three men to leave the drinking spot as they were closing.
After leaving the nightspot, the trio walked together towards Spitzkop bus terminus where Dube took a different route.
The court heard that Moyo and Sibanda continued walking together.
Along the way Moyo picked a stone and struck Sibanda twice on the head and he fell down and died instantly.
“Moyo then searched Sibanda’s pockets and fished out R450 and fled the scene,” said Hove.
Sibanda was found dead by the roadside after having been last seen leaving the nightclub with Moyo in the early hours of the morning. The Chronicle