A 25-year-old Bulawayo woman who stabbed her husband following an adul_tery dispute says she kept the corpse for two days before dousing it with paraffin and burning it to conceal evidence as she was in shock.
The woman, Lakela Sweswe from Buena Vista who was 23 years old when she committed the offence, said she was acting in self-defence from her abusive husband, the late Anofa Mlauzi who had initially wanted to stab her with the same knife.
Mlauzi had accused his wife of committing adul_tery.
Appearing before High Court judge, Justice Martin Makonese, Sweswe told the court that she had no intention of stabbing her husband.
Sweswe said her husband came home at around 1AM in a drunken stupor and they had an altercation.
She said he assaulted her using fists and then dropped the knife which she said she believed he wanted to use to stab her before going outside.
“When he went out of the room, I thought he was going to arm himself so that he could beat me so I picked up the knife and hid behind the door and when he came in I stabbed him in the throat instead of the arm as I had intended.
“I did not want to stab him but I was overcome by anger, I was angered by his continued physical abuse,” said Sweswe.
She said after stabbing him, she tried to help him get up but failed and she poured water on him so that he could regain consciousness before she retired to bed.
Sweswe said the abuse started in March 2013, a month after they got married.
She said she had on several occasions reported the abuse at Hillside Police Station but each time she reported, police only advised them to resolve their issues amicably.
Sweswe said at one time the matter went to court and she withdrew the case because she loved her husband.
Appearing for the state, Ms Nonhlanhla Ndlovu asked Sweswe why she did not report the matter to anyone if she had killed her husband in self-defence.
She also asked the accused why she lied when she was asked about her husband’s whereabouts.
“I admit I lied because I was scared and in a state of shock. The reason was that the act was haunting me and eventually I was going to disclose it to someone. I got scared when I saw the body because it was my first time seeing a body,” she said.
The court heard that after realising that her husband was dead, she dragged the body into a shed. Two days later she doused the body with paraffin and burnt it.
“I regret killing my husband because I loved him very much. I also realise that I did a bad thing by burning his body. It was a desperate attempt to conceal evidence as I thought the fire was going to reduce the body to ashes,” she said.
Ms Ndlovu said there were no independent witnesses to the murder and all the evidence the court was relying on was from the accused person.
“From her own version the accused person acted recklessly on the night in question. She did not make an effort to stop deceased person’s bleeding but instead retired to bed,” she said.
Ms Ndlovu said Sweswe’s actions were not consistent with that of a person who had erroneously killed someone. She said after realising that her husband was dead the following morning, she did not raise any alarm but kept the corpse and later burnt it to conceal evidence.
For the defence, Mr Kucaca Phulu and Ms Marygold Sibanda said their client had no evil desire to kill and cited a number of cases of battered women who behaved similarly under such circumstances.
They however conceded that Sweswe acted negligently in failing to get help for her bleeding husband.
Justice Martin Makonese sitting with assessors adjourned the court to today for judgement.