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Man brutally killed, body dumped in disused mine shaft

By Patrick Chitumba

A MAN from Silobela allegedly fatally struck a builder with an axe and went on to crush his head, robbed him of $1.50, a mobile phone and jacket before carrying the body on his shoulders and dumping it in a disused mine shaft.

A miner emerges from a shaft
A miner emerges from a shaft

Jowman Ndlovu (21) of Nkomozabo Village under Chief Malisa in Silobela ran out of luck when the body of Nobukhosi Nkomo (35) was discovered by villagers who saw a pool of blood and bone fragments at the scene of the alleged murder before following the trail of blood which led to the disused mine shaft.

This was heard when Ndlovu appeared before Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Martin Makonese, sitting at the Gweru High Court Circuit on Friday facing one count of murder.

Ndlovu pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Justice Makonese remanded him in custody to today for judgment.

The court heard how villagers saw a broken axe handle and bone fragments — an indication of excessive force allegedly used by Ndlovu in axing and crushing Nkomo before he robbed his lifeless body.

Mr Peter Nyathi, a witness and villager, told the court that on June 10, 2018 at around 7AM, he was walking along a path to a neighbouring homestead for a haircut when he saw a pool of blood and bone fragments along the path.

He said he also saw shoe prints nearby which led him to a disused mine pit.

“I also traced the shoe print which led to Dhlamathuli River where I discovered more blood and more bone fragments at a secluded place on the river bank. I observed a hand bangle and a broken axe. I became suspicious that someone might have been brutally murdered,” said Mr Nyathi.

He said he informed the village head and other villagers before they went back to the disused mine shaft and discovered Nkomo’s body.

Another witness and builder Mr Onias Moyo told the court that the deceased was his workmate.

“On June 10, I was informed that there was a trail of blood along Dhlamathuli River. I proceeded to the area and observed a trail of blood which led to the disused mine shaft. The pit had some water.

“We retrieved the deceased’s body. I observed that the deceased’s legs were tied with wire, it had bruises all over and deep cuts on the head,” he said.

Police Constable Tadious Shenjere told the court that Ndlovu was found in possession of Nkomo’s bloodstained black jacket, a cellphone, cash amounting to $1.50, the stone used to crush his head and the axe with a broken handle.

“Accused also showed the police some ashes which he said were from the deceased’s shirt and sandals that he burnt to conceal the murder.

“At the scene, the deceased’s body had deep wounds and fractures on the head. I also noticed bruises all over the deceased’s body and his legs were tied with wire,” he said.

For the State, Ms Ndamukanei Chikuni told the court that on June 9, 2018, at around 9AM, Nkomo was on his way to Dlamathuli Shops in Nkomazabo Village.

Nkomo met Ndlovu along the way who appeared from behind and suddenly attacked him with an axe and a stone in the head and he fell unconscious.

“The accused struck the deceased with an axe until its handle broke. He picked up a stone which he used to crush the deceased’s head. The deceased became unconscious and the accused searched him and stole his black cell phone, black jacket and $1.50.

“The accused carried the deceased on his shoulders and dumped his body in a disused mine shaft to conceal the murder. A postmortem done concluded that the deceased’s cause of death was severe brain damage and multiple compound fractures,” she said. The Chronicle