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A BULAWAYO man who ganged up with an accomplice and lured their neighbour into a bush where they stripped him before strangling him and looting his house, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Victor Teera (30) of Pumula South was convicted of murder with constructive intent by retired Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Ndou.
Teera and his accomplice, Lungisani Dube who is on the run assaulted Mgcini Nyathi (21) before they strangled him using a tracksuit jacket in 2008.
Teera, who was 20 when he committed the crime, was lucky to escape the gallows due to his age at the time of committing the offence.
According to the constitution, anyone who commits murder in aggravating circumstances while below the age of 21 is exempted from the death penalty.
In passing the sentence, Justice Ndou described Teera as a wicked person who deserved to rot in jail for his actions.
“The accused person and his accomplice lured the deceased into the bush where they killed him in a cruel manner. Murder is a serious offence and it is even more serious when the motive is to rob the victim,” said the judge.
Justice Ndou vented his anger over a growing trend among young people lacking respect for human life, saying there was a need to uphold the sanctity of human life through imposing deterrent sentences.
“Offences of this nature are committed by young people of accused person’s age group. The courts have to emphasise the sanctity of human life and in this case a young life was needlessly lost,” he said.
“The aggravatory factors outweigh mitigatory ones and the only suitable sentence is a life imprisonment,” ruled Justice Ndou.
The judge said under normal circumstances, Teera deserved to be hanged.
He, however, spared him the death sentence due to his age at the time of committing the offence.
Prosecuting, Mr Whisper Mabaudhi said on March 24 in 2008 at about 6PM, Nyathi went to a house in Pumula South suburb where Teera stayed with his sister and brother-in-law intending to borrow some flour and digital video discs.
The court heard that after collecting the items, Nyathi invited Teera to his house so that they could spend time together since he was staying alone.
Teera and Dube connived to kill Nyathi and loot his property so that they could sell it to raise money to go to South Africa.
After supper, Teera went to Nyathi’s house where he met Dube at the gate.
“On arrival at Nyathi’s house, Teera and Dube lured the deceased to accompany them to Nkulumane Complex on the pretext that they wanted to collect cards that would enable them to buy sugar on the following day,” said Mr Mabaudhi.
As the trio walked along a bushy road between Pumula South and Nkulumane, Teera punched Nyathi and he fell down and Dube pinned him down.
They searched him and took R200 and a cell phone.
They also took his shoes, shirt and a jacket before strangling him.
They carried the body to a nearby maize field where they dumped it. They proceeded to his house where they stole a DVD player, cell phone, clothes and digital video discs.
The body was found by a passerby on the following morning and a report was made to the police leading to Teera’s arrest. According to post mortem results the cause of death was asphyxia, assault and strangulation.
In his defence, though pro deo lawyer, Ms Caroline Mudenda, Teera said Nyathi was killed by one Joseph Gapare whom he claimed had an argument with the deceased over a debt of Z$400 billion.
He said Gapare was the last person to be seen with Nyathi. chronicle