Man rapes woman carrying baby on her back, then kills both of them

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A Triangle man who allegedly raped a woman from Crown Ranch resettlement area before fatally hitting her and her minor child with an axe, has been arrested.

Themba Phiri, 38 of Mberengwa under Chief Muketi area was arrested in Chiredzi last week after police received a tip off from members of the public.

Phiri appeared before Chiredzi magistrate Geraldino Mutsotso on Tuesday facing murder charges.

He was remanded in custody to September 4.

Prosecutors say on July 18, Vimbai Taruvinga Bande, 30, went to fetch firewood with her five-month-old baby, Tinomutenda Mapfumo, but never made it back home after being attacked by Phiri.

Bande is said to have accompanied her sister together with her husband who had visited her, before proceeding to fetch firewood.

“After walking for about a kilometre, Bande left the couple proceeding with their journey while getting into the bush. She wanted to fetch firewood,” said Doubt Phiri, prosecuting.

“Upon getting into the bush, Bande started fetching firewood and during the process, she met Phiri. Phiri, a firewood trader in the area invited her to see some firewood he wanted to sell.”

Bande is said to have followed Phiri who then accused her of gossiping about his alleged philandering, resulting in his wife deserting him.

The court heard that Bande denied the accusations, but Phiri grabbed her and then produced an okapi knife which he used to cut the towel with which she strapped her baby on her back.

Phiri allegedly proceeded to rape her once, after which he struck her and her daughter using the back of his axe. After seeing that his victims were dead, he used mopani tree to cover their bodies before fleeing from the scene.

The bodies were discovered three days later by villagers who were part of a team that was searching for her.

A report was made to the police, leading to Phiri’s arrest.

The court heard that police recovered a suicide note in Phiri’s jacket that indicated that he had contemplated taking his own life after the murder.


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