The Sunday News
Fairness Moyana, Hwange Correspondent
A DETE woman who allegedly beat up her three-year-old daughter with fists and a switch for soiling herself, killing her in the process will be confined at a mental hospital for treatment after a special verdict was retained in her murder case.
Tendai Nyoni from Makwandara Village in Dete, Matabeleland North was cleared of murder charges after it was discovered that she was mentally unstable when she caused the death of her daughter, Gugulethu.
Retaining the special verdict during the second term of the Hwange High Court circuit last week, Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Francis Mbere said evidence showed that Nyoni could not be held liable to the murder charge she was facing as she was mentally unstable when she committed the offence.
“The psychiatric report confirms your mental instability at the commission of the offence and this is also supported by the evidence of the witnesses.
You are hereby not found guilty of murder under the Mental Act and it is ordered that you be retained to Mlondolozi for further management until such a time the board certifies your recovery to return home,” said Justice Mbere.
It is however, not clear what caused the child’s death as the advanced state of body at the time of examination made it difficult to ascertain. However, Nyoni who briefly took to the witness stand narrated how she left her homestead with her daughter for an unknown destination where she alleged her daughter was hit on the stomach with a ball while playing. She said all hell broke loose when after the daughter was hit by the ball resulting in her soiling herself.
“The soccer boys started it when their ball hit my daughter on the stomach. When she soiled herself I then hit her twice with fists, she fell to the ground and lay still. I tried to wake her up but she just continued sleeping so I took her to where some boys were herding goats and left her intending to go back home and get fresh clothes,” said Nyoni.
She said when she returned with the clothes, her daughter was still “sleeping” and she bathed her and strapped her on her back, unaware that she was already dead. Nyoni’s grandmother, Mrs Mailes Nyoni told the court that her niece suffered a mental relapse over a long period as sometime in 2014 her husband abandoned her, resulting in her leading a secluded life.
The State led by Miss Memory Munsaka said on 20 January 2016 at around 8am Nyoni together with Gugulethu left Mr Max Mudimba’s homestead were they had visited and proceeded Mr Tedious Nyoni’s place.
The court heard that she arrived at around 11 am and found the homestead deserted whereupon she went on take the daughter’s small blanket and some clothes and left the homestead.
She returned later at around 7pm carrying the deceased on her back using the blanket she had collected.
Her grandmother who had noticed deceased’s legs hanging motionless inquired on the health of the child and was told that she was asleep.
Nyoni went on to place the child in a bedroom hut where she was later found lying on the floor by her grandmother who discovered that she had died. A report was made to police resulting in Nyoni’s arrest.