3 men get 15-year sentences for killing fellow villager over stolen phone


The High Court has sentenced three Mudzi gold panners to 15 years in jail for killing a villager they accused of stealing a mobile phone belonging to one of the men.

Brothers Clever (24) and Trymore Mudzengerere (22) and Freddy Gireya, all of Chamburuka village, under Chief Chikwizo, denied killing Tungamirai Munyangwa over opaque beer in January last year.

Clever struck Tungamirai with a beer bottle and he fell down. The other two joined in the attack and trampled him on the neck and head.

The trio denied the charge of murder when their trial began before Justice Munamato Mutevedzi. However, the judge convicted the trio after the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

They were each slapped with 15-year terms of imprisonment.

In passing sentence, Justice Mutevedzi considered the youthfulness of the offenders and irresponsible alcohol intake, which he said all contributed to the unnecessary and avoidable death of their victim.

The judge also noted that the three were simple village young men with little education if they have any at all.

“Those factors sway the court to accept that any sentence which it passes must be rehabilitative whilst at the same time punishing the offenders for their heinous transgressions,” he said.

“We have already indicated that the finding that the crime was not committed in aggravating circumstances liberates the court from the minimum mandatory penalties otherwise imposable.”

The facts proven at trial were that the trio chased down, cornered and fatally assaulted Tungamirai after they accused him of having stolen Clever’s phone.

From the narration of the events, the court accepted that Clever was the principal instigator of the murder. He chased Tungamirai first and played the leading role during the assault.

Trymore later joined in possibly in a blood is thicker than water scenario. He fought on the side of Clever who is his sibling.

Freddy arrived at the scene when the assault had already started. He fully participated by stomping on Tungamirai as he lay helplessly. Although they all denied the charges, the court rejected their defences.

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