A Chivhu woman allegedly killed her four children yesterday afternoon after a dispute with her husband by slitting their throats before setting the family home on fire, taking poison and handing herself over to the police.
Emelda Marazani (29) reportedly killed the children aged nine, five, three and one after her husband Lameck Brande (43) left for work. The eldest two were tied with a rope before being killed with a knife and then the other two were knifed to death.
Marazani is battling for her life at Chivhu General Hospital after she attempted suicide by drinking a yet to be identified poison.
National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said after setting the house on fire, Emelda handed herself over to police but she had already taken the poison in a suicide bid. Police were still investigating the deaths at 4171 Highview Suburb.
Summarising what police believe happened, Asst Com Nyathi said: “The suspect Emelda Marazani had a marital dispute with her husband Lameck Brande and when the husband left for work in the morning, the suspect locked the children aged nine, five, three and one in the house. She took a rope and tied the two elder children before slitting open their throats with a knife. The suspect went on to kill the other two children with the knife before setting the house on fire.”
Neighbours saw the smoke and asked her what was going on but she assured them that all was well.
Neighbour Mr Daniel Machoni said he and others rushed to the house after they saw smoke billowing through the roof. “When I got to the house, I saw my friend’s wife locking the gate and I asked her what was going on to which she simply said all was in order. My suspicions grew when I checked the yard and I could not see the children.
“After she locked the gate, she walked a few metres and started to sprint, that is when I got suspicious. Together with other neighbours, we jumped the fence. By that time, the husband had arrived and we managed to break the burglar bars since all doors were locked. The husband went in through the window and tried to pull out the children, that is when he discovered that they were all dead with their throats slit.”
Another neighbour, Mr Iven Muchesa, said he was alerted to the incident by a fellow neighbour and rushed to the scene.
“We helped the father of the children to break the burglar bars. The children were in separate rooms. The elder ones were burnt beyond recognition while the bodies of the other two were removed from the house unburnt. All the property was burnt. We had to connect some hose pipes to put out the fire. We are still in shock.”
Another neighbour said Marazani had also tried to burn one of the family’s vehicles parked in the garage but failed.