A HIGH Court judge on Friday said a man who axed his wife to death after catching her screaming in pleasure while having sex with his brother-in-law was provoked, before jailing him for 14 years.

Justice Nokuthula Moyo convicted Mandlenkosi Ncube, 34, of Robert Sinyoka Estate in Pumula, Bulawayo, of murder with actual intent, but ruled that there were extenuating circumstances.

Ncube had denied that he intentionally killed his wife and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of culpable homicide.

Ncube killed his wife Nobuhle Moyo, 28, after he found her in bed with his mukwasha, Nhlalo Gumbo.

Justice Moyo concurred with both the defence counsel and state that provocation was a factor that extenuated the circumstances of the crime.

Justice Moyo concluded that Ncube used an axe to attack his wife even though the man had denied using the tool, claiming that he only assaulted his wife with fists, dry tree branches and booted feet.

"It's clear that Ncube was angry because of the unbecoming conduct by his wife and Gumbo. He was incensed by her behaviour and assaulted her several times before axing her resulting in her sustaining multiple skull and face injuries, which subsequently led to her death," said Justice Moyo.

"Ncube suspected his wife of infidelity and when he found her in bed with another man he meted out instant justice. It's the manner in which he attacked Moyo that this court is bitter about although there's an element of extreme provocation."

Justice Moyo said it was the duty of the courts to uphold the sanctity of human life.

"It's our view that while Ncube was angered by his wife's actions, he should have sought other amicable ways of resolving the problem rather than resorting to violence. No amount of provocation is worth killing each other for and the courts have a duty to uphold the sanctity of human life and accordingly a sentence of 14 years in prison would meet the justice of the matter."

The court heard that  on February 1 last year, shortly after 9PM, Ncube and Moyo were walking home from a beer drink at Pumula beer garden when they had an altercation. The dispute resulted in Moyo assaulting his wife. Gumbo and another neighbour, Luka Mpande, who were walking behind the couple, intervened on Moyo's side and restrained Ncube from further assaulting his wife.

A fight later ensued between Ncube and the two men and Ncube was overpowered.

Along the way, Gumbo proposed love to Moyo and she accepted the proposal. The two lovers proceeded to Gumbo's homestead for a sex tryst.

The court heard that Ncube later rose to his feet and proceeded to Pumula Police Station to report the assault.

Soon after reporting the matter, Ncube went to his home, but did not find his wife. He then proceeded to his mother-in-law's homestead where he again failed to locate her.

Ncube became suspicious and returned to his place, armed himself with an axe and headed to Gumbo's homestead where he found the two busy like rabbits, having sex.

He struck Gumbo with the axe on the left shoulder but he escaped leaving his girlfriend at the mercy of her husband. Ncube struck Moyo several times on the head and body using his axe and a knobkerrie, which he had found in Gumbo's hut, leading to her death.

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