A CHITUNGWIZA man, who brutally murdered his mother-in-law, Chipo Musimbe, and hacked off his five-year-old son Exodus Sibanda’s head and slit his stomach open, was on Monday acquitted by the High Court on grounds of mental instability.

Isaac Sibanda, whose age was not stated in court papers, was, however, remanded in custody by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, who ruled that his mental status demanded that he should be released into the custody of a close relative.

The incident which left many people dumbfounded occurred on January 19 2003 in Unit M, Seke, Chitungwiza.

Prosecutor Henry Muringani told the court that on the fateful night, Sibanda started behaving strangely and assaulted his wife, Lizzie Musimbe, forcing her to flee to the dining room where the now late Chipo and Exodus were sleeping.

Sibanda, who was naked at the time, pursued his wife and picked up a hoe and struck his son several times on the head, killing him instantly.

As if that was not enough, Sibanda turned on his sleeping mother-in-law and crushed her head with the same hoe before decapitating his son and slitting open his stomach after which he removed some intestines and liver.

After the heinous act, Sibanda locked himself in the house. Police later shot him on the thigh and subdued him, leading to his arrest.

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