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Man remanded in custody for ‘killing’ flea market trader

By Mashudu Netsianda

A Beitbridge man who allegedly waylaid a 65-year-old flea market trader in the driveway of her house in Dulivhadzimu suburb in the border town before fatally stabbing her with a knife and robbing the woman of two cellphones has appeared in court.

Bulawayo High Court in the background
Bulawayo High Court in the background

Maxwell Chadiwa (25) of Dulivhadzimu suburb pounced on Ms Muchaziva Gonorashe while she was about to leave her house for Musina, South Africa, in the early hours and stabbed her with an okapi knife.

He was arrested after police tracked the victim’s stolen mobile phone to another person who subsequently led detectives to the accused person.

Chadiwa appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Gonorashe. He was remanded in custody to October 18 for continuation of trial.

Chief Prosecutor Ms Nonhlanhla Ndlovu said on January 11 this year, the deceased woke up at around 3.30AM intending to travel to South Africa for shopping using her car, a Toyota Aphard vehicle.

She drove out of the yard, left the engine running and went back to close the gate.

“The deceased, who intended to go to Musina drove her car out of the yard and stopped by the driveway to close the gate behind her when the accused person, who was armed with a knife, pounced on her,” said Ms Ndlovu.

The court heard that Chadiwa pulled out an Okapi knife and stabbed Ms Gonorashe on the left collarbone and she collapsed and died.

“As the deceased lay on the ground, the accused person went to her car and searched it. He took a handbag containing two cellphones, a Samsung Galaxy S4 and a Blackberry. He emptied the bag before he threw it away and left the victim for dead,” said Ms Ndlovu.

The woman’s body was discovered by two other tenants who heard noise of barking dogs in the yard. They reported the matter to the police who recovered an empty handbag near the woman’s body.

The body was later taken to Beitbridge District Hospital mortuary. Soon after committing the murder, Chadiwa sold the woman’s cellphone to another resident.

The cellphone was tracked and it was recovered from a person who had bought it and he led detectives to Chadiwa’s place leading to his arrest.

In his warned and cautioned statement, Chadiwa admitted to the charge. However, when he took to the witness stand, he backtracked. He told the court that the police tortured him and forced him to admit the charge.

One of the investigating officers, Detective Sergeant Loveness Zvenyika, said Chadiwa signed the statement on his own volition.

She said they recovered the blood stained knife a few metres away from the scene.

Chadiwa, in his defence, through his lawyer, Mr Arnold Ncube of R Ndlovu and Company, said he bought the cellphones from a suspected border jumper who was desperately in need of money to pay people to assist him illegally cross the border to South Africa.

“I was waiting for a taxi to go to Dulivhadzimu Bus Terminus when I was approached by three men who wanted to illegally cross the border. They offered to sell me two cellphones and I bought them for R1 000,” he said. The Chronicle.