A MAN from Mawane area in Gwanda allegedly killed his ill wife by strangling her with a 60cm blanket strip, which was netted into a rope.


This was heard by the Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Andrew Mutema yesterday when Habathusi Ncube (45), represented by Thompson Mabikwa, appeared before him charged with the murder of his wife, Sinikiwe Nkala, who was 35 at the time of death.

He denied the charge of murder indicating that he wrapped her with a blanket when he discovered that she was shivering from the cold and that might have affected her causing her to die.

“I did not intend to kill her, I just covered her with a blanket, as she was shivering,” he said.

“I only wanted to help her.”

In his defence outline, he stated that Nkala had been his wife since 1993 and they had no marital problems.

He said his wife had been ill for the previous six years and the illness had worsened to the extent that she could not talk, rise up, bath or visit the toilet on her own.

“The deceased became chronically ill from 2008 and was being taken in and out of the hospital under the care of the accused,” Mabikwa submitted.

He said when she died, he had been at work at the shops for four days, where he received a phone call that his wife’s relatives were at his home wanting to talk to him.

Ncube said he went home only to find a 14-year-old child taking care of his wife, whose health had seriously deteriorated.

He asked for the whereabouts of his sister-in-law, Silibaziso Nxumalo, as she had agreed to look after his wife, but was told that she had said she was tired of looking after a virtual corpse and gone to her home.

“On the fateful day, the accused got into the house and found the now deceased crying and sitting on the sofa,” Mabhikwa indicated.

“The accused sat beside her on the sofa and wrapped her in a blanket before nicely laying her head on his thighs.

“The deceased died in accused’s hands lying on his thighs.”

He said Ncube had a rope which he intended to use to commit suicide because of his wife’s illness.

“When the deceased died, the accused had put the rope down near the sofa and accused had no reason to kill his wife,” the lawyer said.

“Wherefore, the accused humbly prays that he be found not guilty and acquitted of the charge levelled against him.”

The State represented by Thomson Hove told the court that on August 6 2013 Ncube, at his home, strangled his wife, who was terminally ill, with a 60cm long rope made of blanket pieces.

The State called Ncube’s sister-in-law, Nxumalo, who told the court that on the day Ncube came from work and she told him that his in-laws were at his home.

“When he arrived, he sent his child to call me,” she said.

“When I arrived at his home, I told him that his wife’s relatives said they wanted to talk to him.

“I told him that they said they wanted his wife to be taken to an urban place where she could receive special care rather than staying at the rural home.

“He said it was not possible for his wife to be moved from her home and suddenly went into the hut and said no one should follow him.

After that I heard his wife screaming and when she screamed for the second time my children and I ran to a neighbour, Aaron Moyo, whom I informed of the noise at Ncube’s home.

“When Moyo went into his hut to take shoes, we ran, with my children to the bush, where we spent the night and we were only seen the following day when people in the village were looking for us.”

Nxumalo said they went to Ncube’s home and learnt that his wife had died. She said, however, she did not know what might have caused her death and would not know why she was screaming.

Moyo and Mpendulo John Ncube, who went to Ncube’s homestead the following day, were called to testify and they expressed ignorance as to the cause of Nkala’s death.

They only said they thought since she had been ill for a long time the illness might have taken her. The State is yet to call other witnesses, including Crispen Machinda, Mzimazisi Nyathi, Doctor Sanganayi Pesanayi a pathologist who examined Nkala’s remains and Nyasha Lupondo.

In a post mortem report dated August 8 2013 Pesanayi said Nkala’s death was caused by asphyxia, strangulation, and homicide.

The case continues today.