35 years in jail for man who killed Chambara Manyene gogo after she caught him stealing in her house

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One year after an elderly woman was hit and suffocated during a burglary, her assailant, Godknows Tafadzwa Ringoziva, was last week sent to prison for 35 years.

Ringoziva killed the 93-year-old woman before he ransacked her bedroom and stole an assortment of household property, at Kanengoni village, Chambara Manyene in Chivhu. Ringoziva was arrested about a month later at his rural home in Mutasa.

He denied the murder charge when his trial commenced before High Court judge Justice Lucy-Anne Mungwari, claiming that on the night of January 14 last year he was nowhere near Chivhu as he was at his father’s homestead in Mutasa. He claimed to have arrived at his parents’ home on January 5 last year and had never left Mutasa District until his arrest the following month.

However, the court rejected his defence and convicted him of a brutal murder of a defenceless nonagenarian without any provocation. The prosecution proved the case against Ringoziva beyond reasonable doubt.

In computing the sentence, Justice Mungwari noted that the aggravation outweighed the mitigation and so she imposed a more severe penalty than the starting minimum of 20 years for murder.

“The loss of life due to greed and the presence of multiple aggravating factors make the murder senseless and extremely brutal such that a higher sentence than the mandatory penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment is called for,” she said.

“The act of murdering another person is heinous on its own. This act must have sent shockwaves in the rural areas of Chambara Manyene.”

The judge said there was no doubt that murder caused emotional distress to the deceased’s family and loved ones. Further, the court noted that life was unnecessarily lost in cruel circumstances and no amount of punishment could bring back the life of the deceased.

“There is, therefore, in this case, the sad reality of a combination of aggravating circumstances under which the murder was perpetrated. That increases the accused’s moral blameworthiness. The only saving grace for the offender’s moral blameworthiness is that he is a youthful first offender who suffered pre-trial incarceration of one year.

“There is little or no risk that he will reoffend,” said the judge imposing a 35-year imprisonment term to suit the instance of justice in the case.

The court heard that the elderly woman lived alone at her homestead. On the night of the killing, she walked in on Ringoziva who was in the process of ransacking her house and she confronted him. Ringoziva elbowed her out of the way and assaulted her with her walking stick.

He then took the elderly woman’s blanket and covered her with it subsequently using it to suffocate her.

Unmoved by the murder, Ringoziva then stole her possessions, among them groceries, a cellphone as well as a blanket.

He packed the property into three sacks, loaded them into her wheelbarrow and wheeled the deceased’s property away from her premises and escaped into the night.

He was identified by Anderson Kashora as he made his way to the bus stop and by another villager Taurai Nyandiro as he boarded a commuter omnibus enroute to Chivhu town.

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