By Leonard Ncube
A 25-year-old gold panner who fatally struck his girlfriend on the head with an axe after she had ended their relationship has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Maxwell Msindo, who resides at number 7576/5 Tshabalala suburb in Bulawayo, committed the crime at Pinch Mine in Inyathi and fled to Zambia soon after killing Sharon Maphosa (28) last year in December.
He was arrested eight days later after he allegedly approached Chief Mukuni of Livingstone in Zambia claiming to be haunted by the deceased’s spirit as he was seeing her face at night.
Msindo asked the chief to accompany him to the police and Chief Mukuni handed him over to cops in Victoria Falls on December 24.
Msindo however denied committing the offence when he appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa on circuit in Hwange on Friday.
He claimed that he was not in Inyathi on December 16 when the murder took place but was on his way to Zambia.
Msindo told the court that when he approached Chief Mukuni he only told him that he wanted to go back to Zimbabwe because his wife had died.
Justice Mabhikwa found him guilty of murder with actual intent and sentenced him to an effective 30 years in prison.
“The accused committed a serious offence as he senselessly and brutally killed a woman he claimed to love because he could not stomach rejection. The court will stop at nothing in ensuring that people know that life is sacrosanct. The accused deserves to be removed from society,” said the judge.
For the State, Mr Bheki Tshabalala said Msindo should be removed from society permanently because he “has no respect for people and didn’t show contrition as he maintained that he was not at the crime scene despite overwhelming evidence.”
The court was told that Maphosa worked at a shop owned by her father Mr Wilson Maphosa.
The court heard that on the fateful day, Maphosa and her workmates closed the shop at 9PM and went to hand over cash and keys to her father.
The workmates, Ms Tracey Mpofu, Ms Nomazulu Mnkandla and Ms Somaphi Ngwenya told the court that Msindo waylaid the deceased near the shops.
They said they saw Msindo leaning against a precast wall for hours before the attack but did not suspect he was planning to kill their workmate.
The witnesses said they could not have failed to identify Msindo because they had known him for six months.
The State case was that the deceased met her death on December 16 last year soon after closing her shop at 9PM and passed through her father’s home.
After that they headed home at their compound.
They passed by the spot where Msindo was and he called the deceased asking her to wait for him but she refused.
Msindo followed them and grabbed Maphosa’s hand in a bid to stop her but she freed herself and continued walking. He then tripped her and she fell face down. Msindo then drew an axe from his waist, sat on her back and struck her several times on the head.
He escaped to Zambia where he later asked a local chief to take him to court saying he was being haunted.
Maphosa was rushed to Inyathi District Hospital where she was pronounced dead on admission.
Miss Charity Manyeza of Ndove and Associates represented Msindo pro-deo. The Chronicle