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Man kills wife, forces children to sleep beside corpse

A Bulawayo man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after murdering his wife and forcing their young children to sleep beside her dead body.

Bambanani Ndlovu was convicted by Bulawayo High Court judge Evangelista Kabasa, who condemned his actions as a horrific example of gender-based violence. Ndlovu’s defence, claiming he acted in self-defence when his wife, Happiness Ngwenya, allegedly grabbed his testicles during an argument, was rejected by the court.

The tragic incident occurred following a dispute over Ndlovu’s late return home. In a fit of rage, Ndlovu strangled Ngwenya in front of their two young children. He then made them sleep with their mother’s corpse, further traumatizing the minors.

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Judge Kabasa highlighted the brutal nature of the crime, stating, “A home should be a sanctuary of peace and love, not a place where a spouse loses their life at the hands of one who claims to love them. The hands that should have nurtured her ended her life.”

The court heard heartbreaking testimony from the couple’s five-year-old daughter. She recounted how her father came home, yelled at her mother, and attacked her with a knobkerrie before strangling her. The child described how her mother struggled and then lay motionless, despite Ndlovu’s attempts to revive her by pouring water on her.

The judge noted the severe psychological impact on the children, especially considering Ndlovu’s threat to harm his daughter if she reported the incident. “You kept the deceased’s body that night and the following day, further traumatizing these young children,” Kabasa stated.

Judge Kabasa emphasized the gravity of the crime and the lack of mitigating factors. She acknowledged that while the presumptive penalty for such an offence is 15 years, the aggravating circumstances warranted a harsher sentence.

“The manner in which you killed the deceased, the presence of the two young children, the keeping of her body in the house, and attempts to lie about the cause of her death justify a sentence of 20 years imprisonment,” Kabasa declared

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