By Mashudu Netsianda
A teenager from Filabusi who fatally struck a rival suitor with a brick on the head in a fight over a 13-year-old girl was yesterday sentenced to an effective 14 years in jail.
Mbongiseni Gregory Sibanda (19) of Zamanjalo village killed Carlos Ndlovu, also aged 18.
Ndlovu, who was with his friend Lungisani Mpofu, had found Sibanda chatting with his girlfriend at her home.
Sibanda was convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa in connection with Ndlovu’s death.
In passing sentence, the judge condemned Sibanda’s conduct, saying the courts have a duty to protect the sanctity of life through passing deterrent sentences.
“It is quite disheartening that our young people have become so violent such that they no longer fear death. They kill each other over petty issues and as courts we have a duty to uphold the sanctity of life,” said Justice Mabhikwa.
“The courts frown upon such conduct, which lead to unnecessary loss of life. The court will therefore impose a sentence that expresses disapproval of such conduct.”
Prosecuting, Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza said on April 18 at around 2PM, the 13-year-old girl borrowed Sibanda’s mobile phone.
The court heard that at around 7PM that day, Sibanda went to her homestead to collect his phone.
“At around 7PM, Sibanda went back to the juvenile’s home to collect his cellphone and while he was there Ndlovu arrived in the company of Mpofu and they found them talking. Sibanda assumed he was under attack and took to his heels,” said Mr Jaravaza.
The court heard that Ndlovu demanded to know from his girlfriend whom she had been standing with and why that person had fled. She told him that Sibanda had come to collect his mobile phone that she had borrowed earlier in the day.
Sibanda returned a short while later and armed himself with a stone and struck Ndlovu once on the back of the head and fled.
“Upon realising that no one was giving chase, Sibanda returned to the scene and found an unconscious Ndlovu lying on the ground. He asked for assistance from a neighbouring village, but Ndlovu died before he could be taken to hospital,” said Mr Jaravaza.
The matter was reported to the police, leading to Sibanda’s arrest.
According to the postmortem results, the cause of death was multiple skull fracture, assault, blunt force trauma and intracranial haemorrhage.
In his defence, through his lawyer Mr Bukhosi Ncube, the accused person argued that he acted in self defence and had no intention of killing the deceased.
“It is just that when I realised that the deceased and Lungisani Mpofu were getting closer to me, I picked a stone and threw it in their direction to scare them off while at the same time creating a leeway for myself to flee from an imminent attack,” he said. The Chronicle