A 42-year-old Gweru man handed himself to the police after locking seven family members, including his wife and kids, in a house before petrol-bombing it after a domestic dispute.
Midlands provincial police spokesperson, Inspector, Emmanuel Mahoko confirmed the incident which occurred in Raylands suburb Gweru on Thursday night.
He said property was destroyed in the attempted arson attack while all family members escaped unhurt.
“The suspect, Darlington Miti (42) has since surrendered himself to the police and is now in custody. He is now facing attempted murder charges and will appear in court soon,” he said.
Insp Mahoko said those who escaped the arson attack were Miti’s wife Chipo Mafunda, her two children from a previous marriage, her 3-year child with Miti and two other family members.
“It is said Miti had a misunderstanding with his wife on Wednesday night. He then left the house only to return home around 2am the following morning armed with a five litre container full of petrol. He then sprinkled the fuel around the house before setting the house on fire together with the wife’s car which was parked outside,” he said.
When The Herald newscrew visited the house yesterday, Ms Mafunda and other family members were busy cleaning the house while throwing away some of the burnt property.
Ms Mafunda told The Herald that they were lucky to be alive after the arson attack from her husband whom she described as a suicidal character.
She said Miti committed the crime some weeks after he attempted to kill himself by consuming poison.
“We have been having some problems in this marriage and recently he wrote a suicide note and later consumed termite poison. We rushed him to the hospital and he spent two weeks in the intensive care unit. He was about to recover but still on medication,” she said.
Ms Mafunda said she is into some business and was fending for the family but Miti was now accusing her of infidelity.
She said on the fateful day, he came home charging while accusing her of seeing other men but without corroborating the allegations.
“He has for a long time, been threatening to kill me and the kids while accusing me of infidelity but I would always ask him to provide evidence because I knew I was clean. He was just insecure because I had become the breadwinner for the family with my business ever since he lost his job some few years back but he was still in denial,” she said.
Ms Mafunda said Miti left home on Wednesday night without communicating where he was going only to come back home at around 2am the following morning armed with some petrol.
“He then started throwing stones at our bedroom where I was sleeping, damaging window panes before he sprinkled petrol on my car which was parked outside and around the house. He then petrol-bombed the house through the bedroom where our three-year-old girl was sleeping,” he said.
Ms Mafunda said she managed to rescue the minor in the bedroom where the fire started before it spread into other rooms.
“Some neighbours then responded to the screams for help and we managed to put out the fire but some of the property had already been damaged,” she said.