Four men who allegedly robbed a Masvingo couple of cash and groceries at their house last year before throwing the couple into a 20m-deep disused mine shaft resulting in the death of the wife have appeared before a High Court judge here for murder.
The trial of the four – Shepherd Chinhara(44) of Rujeko in Masvingo, Kudakwashe Nyashanu (37) of Harare, Needmore Chipoterwa (27) of Bikita and Edson Donza (26) of Chikwanda area in Masvingo – opened before Justice Garainesu Mawadze.
They stand accused of murdering Rutendo Ndega (36) who died after they allegedly threw her into a shaft headlong together with her husband Obvious Nhokovedzo on 14 Jannuary last year.
Nhokovedzo survived but sustained injuries after allegedly being hurled into the shaft with his wife.
The State has lined up several state witnesses to give evidence including, Dr Godfrey Zimbwa who carried the autopsy on Ndega’s body.
Post-mortem results produced in court show that Ndega died as a result of head injury and neck fracture.
Chinhara is being represented by Mr Omen Mafa of Mutendi and Shumba,Donza is represented by Ms Penelope Dube of Mangwana and Partners while Nyashanu and Chipoterwa are unrepresented. They are all denying the charges.
According to the state counsel Mr Batanai Matose the four accused went to their victims’ house in Target Kopje suburb of Masvingo on 14 January last year.
They allegedly went inside the house and found Ndega inside before they blindfolded her and restricted her into one of the rooms while they remained inside.
Later in the day around 4pm Nhokovedzo allegedly arrived at his house and hooted the bell of the Nissan Caravan he was driving.
One of the accused opened the gate for him and Nhokovedzo unsuspectingly drove inside after being made to believe the accused was a visitor to someone who stayed in the cottage.
After getting inside, the accused then overpowered Nhokovedzo and blindfolded him before confining him in another room.
They proceeded to ransack the house and took US$80, R800 and $5 550.
The accused then allegedly loaded some groceries into the Nissan Caravan and bundled the blindfolded couple into the car.
They then drove to some bushy area nearby behind Wimpy Service Station where there are some mine shafts.
It is alleged that they first ordered Ndega out and threw her headlong into the shaft before hurling her husband again in the same pit before they drove away.
The next day Nhokovedzo raised alarm to a passerby who then alerted the police, resulting in a joint operation between police and fire brigade to pull out the couple.
Ndega was certified dead at Masvingo General Hospital.
On 19 January last year a relative of the deceased positively identified Nhokovedzo’s Nissan Caravan in Harare and alerted police at a road block, leading to the arrest of one Nyashanu who then implicated his co-accused who were also arrested.