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Life in jail for robber-CCTV and DNA proof nails guard killer

By Mashudu Netsianda

One of the three suspects who were captured on closed circuit television (CCTV) while killing and robbing a security guard at a company in Bulawayo’s Thorngrove industrial area, was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment.

Jabulani Ndlovu
Jabulani Ndlovu

Jabulani Ndlovu (36) of Thorngrove squatter camp broke into Buchu Meat Wholesalers and fatally struck Jabulani Madolo (48) with a four-pound hammer on the head before robbing him of $20 and two cellphones.

Ndlovu tried to deny he was at the scene on the day of the gruesome killing but DNA evidence certified by the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) Applied Genetic Testing Centre and the CCTV footage nailed him.

Video footage from a CCTV camera mounted at the company premises led to the positive identification and subsequent arrest of Ndlovu.

Ndlovu was convicted of murder with actual intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva in connection with Madolo’s death. Ndlovu’s accomplices are still at large.

In his judgment, Justice Takuva said Ndlovu was not a credible witness whose testimony could not be relied on because it was fraught with inconsistencies.

In passing sentence, Justice Takuva condemned Ndlovu’s conduct, saying the murder was committed in a callous manner.

“This murder was committed in the course of a robbery in the most gruesome and callous manner by people who had no respect for human life. The deceased died a very painful and violent death in a cold and heinous manner,” said the judge.

He described Ndlovu as an evil person who deserved to be permanently removed from society.

“The CCTV footage showed the accused and his accomplices incessantly attacking the deceased on the head in a very brutal manner as he lay helplessly on the ground. The accused used dangerous weapons, a clear indication that he is an inherently wicked person who should not be allowed to be in society,” said Justice Takuva.

He said the courts have a duty to uphold the sanctity of human life through passing lengthy prison terms.

“A lengthy term of imprisonment is unavoidable. In the result, the accused is sentenced to life imprisonment,” ruled Justice Takuva.

Prosecuting, Mrs Sifiso Ndlovu-Sibanda said on July 2 in 2015 at around 6PM, Madolo reported for duty at Buchu Meat Wholesalers together with a colleague identified as Innocent Gwama.

The deceased and Gwama were deployed to guard different sections of the building.

The court heard that at around 1.30AM, the accused person and his accomplices went to the premises where they cut the perimeter fence to gain entry.

After breaking into the workshop through an open space on the roof, they stole an iron rod, steel diggers and a four-pound hammer. Using the iron rods, the trio stormed Buchu Wholesalers with the intention of stealing meat.

They used the tools to force open the refrigerated containers filled with meat but Madolo spotted them and attempted to raise alarm.

“The accused suddenly pounced on Madolo and struck him with an iron rod and robbed him of $20, which was in his pocket while his accomplices took away his two mobile phones,” said Mrs Ndlovu-Sibanda.

After the attack, the suspects tried to pour water on Madolo in a bid to resuscitate him. On realising that he was already dead, the trio fled from the scene during which Ndlovu left behind one of his sports shoes.

A post-mortem report indicated that Madolo’s death was caused by severe cerebral oedema, subarachnoid haemorrhage, severe head injuries and multiple cerebral contusions. Ndlovu was arrested after his image was captured on the company’s CCTV.

Ndlovu’s sports shoe was taken to the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) for deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests. The DNA profile matching that of the deceased was obtained from the blood stains found on Ndlovu’s shoe.

An affidavit tendered by Mr Zephaniah Dhlamini, the chairman of the Department of Applied Biology and Biochemistry at Nust, was produced in court as part of exhibits.

In his defence through his lawyers Ms Swally Munherendi and Mr Abednico Ndebele from Mathonsi Ncube Law Chambers, Ndlovu denied the charges, arguing that on that particular day, he was betting and drinking beer at a local beer garden until he got drunk.

Ndlovu said because of his drunkenness, he lost one of his sports shoes and only noticed it the following day.

Meanwhile, the deceased’s wife, Ms Rebecca Dube (46) and her sister-in-law, Mrs Sanelisiwe Nkala (44), commended the court for the sentence. They said although Ndlovu deserved a death sentence, they were happy with the life imprisonment.

Ms Dube said Ndlovu’s family did not show any remorse or contribute towards the funeral of her husband.

“I am now left with the burden of solely taking care of my two minor children following the death of my husband who was killed in the most brutal manner by the accused and his accomplices,” she said.The Chronicle