A Victoria Falls man, who kicked and punched his wife to death for gossiping about him with neighbours, has been sentenced to five years in jail after being convicted of culpable homicide.
Japhet Mapfumo (41) who was facing murder charges, was however convicted of a lesser charge of culpable homicide by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nokuthula Moyo, who is on circuit in Hwange.
Mapfumo, who was represented by Mr Thulani Nkala of Dube, Nkala and Company, told the court that he was provoked by his late wife Annastacia Tshuma (44), whom he found telling a neighbour, Ms Caroline Masuku that he was cheating on her.
Mapfumo said he acted under the influence of alcohol, adding that the deceased was also violent.
Justice Moyo said although the court accepted as mitigation that Mapfumo was provoked, there was a need to send a clear message that the sanctity of life should be respected hence a deterrent sentence was called for.
“The court considered that the accused is a first offender who pleaded guilty to the charge and was drunk when he committed the crime. The court also considered that Tshuma hit her head on a concrete slab which worsened the situation. However, violence in all its forms must be discouraged. Domestic violence has become a cancer which courts must assist to stop,” said Justice Moyo.
Mapfumo, who has been out of custody on bail since the incident in April last year, will however serve an effective three years after two years were suspended on condition of good behaviour.
For the State, Mrs Martha Cheda had implored the court to exercise its role to protect the sanctity of life and pass a sentence that discourages violence in solving disputes.
Details of the case were that Mapfumo beat up Tshuma until she fainted and carried her home where he slept next to the body until the following day when it was discovered that she was dead.
“On 22 April at around 11PM, the now deceased Annastacia Tshuma visited a neighbour Ms Caroline Masuku and told her that her husband, Mapfumo was cheating on her.
As she was narrating her story Mapfumo, who appeared sober arrived and overhead her talking about him.
“Mapfumo punched Tshuma twice on the back of her head. The now deceased staggered and fell headlong on concrete slab on the door step. She staggered back to her feet and Mapfumo punched her again on the back of the head. He kicked her on the abdomen and she fell down,” said Mrs Cheda. The court heard that Tshuma screamed once before losing consciousness. Ms Masuku who witnessed the attack, woke up her father Mr Dabison Masuku, who restrained Mapfumo and told him to take his wife inside the house.
Mapfumo carried the unconscious Tshuma and placed her on the bed. He slept next to the body until morning when he discovered that she was dead.