A WOMAN and her two granddaughters from a village outside Hwange narrowly escaped death after her estranged son-in-law torched two huts and destroyed property worth more than $200 000 and US$25 cash in protest after his wife left him.
Mrs Grace Moyo and her granddaughters Linet Moyo and Belinda Sibanda, all ages not given, were sleeping in a bedroom hut in Jejeti Village, Kasibo area under Chief Whange when Absalom Nkomo (30) arrived around 11PM and started insulting them.
Nkomo was married to Mrs Moyo’s daughter Nobuhle and the couple was reportedly having undisclosed marital problems which resulted in her leaving him on August 9.
Nkomo, who also resides in the same village, proceeded to his in-laws’ homestead at night demanding to know his wife’s whereabouts and burnt a kitchen hut and bedroom hut after being told that she was not home.
Mrs Moyo, Linet and Belinda were lucky to escape unhurt because they were already outside the bedroom hut when Nkomo set it on fire.
Nkomo pleaded guilty to malicious damage to property when he appeared before Hwange magistrate Ms Rangarirai Gakanje on Friday.
He was fined $6 000 or in default of payment he will be sent to jail for six months.
In addition, the magistrate sentenced Nkomo to 10 months imprisonment of which two months were suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.
The remaining eight months were suspended on condition that Nkomo restitutes his mother-in-law $203 400 being the total value of destroyed property and US$25 by Monday next week.
Prosecuting, Mr Thulani Ncube said Nkomo turned violent and started insulting his mother-in-law before setting alight two huts, burning various kinds of property and US$25 which was in the bedroom.
“On the 9th day of August at around 11pm the complainant was in her bedroom hut with her grandchildren when the accused arrived. The accused asked his mother-in-law about his wife Nobuhle Moyo’s whereabouts and the complainant told him that she didn’t know where her daughter was. The accused became furious and insulted the complainant,” said Mr Ncube.
He said Nkomo threatened to burn a kitchen hut and a bedroom hut unless they disclosed his wife’s whereabouts.
Mrs Moyo and her granddaughters went out of the bedroom hut and begged Nkomo not to burn their huts but he became more violent, the court was told.
Nkomo then entered the kitchen hut and took a burning log which he used to set the same hut alight.
He pulled some thatch grass from the burning hut and used it to torch the bedroom hut. The complainant watched helplessly as both huts were burnt down.
The total value of destroyed property is $203 400 and US$25.