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Police tortured me: Panner

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A GOLD panner from Spitzkop North Extension in Gwanda, who is accused of killing a gold buyer and trying to rob him of cash, last week told the court that he was tortured by the police officers, who arrested him forcing him to admit that he killed the man.

SILAS NKALA
STAFF REPORTER

The gold miner said the police officer even threatened to take him from remand prison if he denied the allegations, when he appeared before Gwanda Magistrates’ Court.

Bhekimpilo Moyo (36) made the remarks when he appeared before Bulawayo High Court magistrate Nokuthula Moyo charged with murder.

Represented by Bruce Masamvu, Moyo pleaded not guilty to the charge of killing Petro Sibanda (41) of Spitzkop North Extension in Gwanda, indicating that he was even shocked and pained by the death of the gold buyer.

Moyo said following Sibanda’s death, he was arrested when some people accused him of having killed the gold buyer.

He said Sibanda was staying at the same house with his (Moyo) married girlfriend, who also had an affair with the deceased.

Moyo said on the day, he had parted with Sibanda after the deceased had paid him R500 and they had agreed that he would bring 10 explosives.

He went to Blanket Mine and on his return he was arrested before he could give Sibanda the explosives.

“When I was arrested I was taken to the police station where I was locked up in cells,” Moyo said.

“The following day I was taken for parade, where I was slapped by the police.

“I was later taken to an upper base close to Criminal Investigations Department where the detectives told me that they would not tolerate any lies from me.”

He said they tied his feet to a desk before they assaulted him several times and forced him to admit to killing Sibanda.

Moyo said the following day he was taken to Gwanda Magistrates’ Court, where detectives threatened him with further torture if he denied the allegations.

He said in fear, he did not tell the magistrate about the torture.

Moyo said when the police took him for indications at the scene of the crime, they forced him to pick a stone, which they said he should say he used to kill Sibanda with.

“I do not know who killed the deceased, even I am pained by his death because he was someone I know, but now I am here being accused of killing him,” he said.

Moyo said everything he wrote in the warned and cautioned statement was under duress.

In his statement, he said he was admitting to killing Sibanda.

Prosecutor Thomson Hove alleged that on January 7 last year at 8pm, Sibanda arrived at Crystal Spirits NIte Club in Spitzkop Gwanda where he bought beer and started drinking alone.

At 8:30pm Moyo arrived and greeted Sibanda and the two started drinking together.

They were later joined by Meluleki Dube.

They drank beer until everyone in the bar had left at 3am.

They left together, but when they were at Spitzkop terminus, Dube took a different route leaving Sibanda and Moyo walking together.

Along the way, Moyo allegedly struck Sibanda on the head twice with a stone and he fell down and died on the spot.

Moyo allegedly searched him and took R450 before fleeing.

The State relied on Dube’s evidence, who confirmed he left Sibanda with Moyo and Sidingulwazi Ncube, who saw them together at the night club and saw them leave together.

Mgcini Ndlovu, a police officer, conducted a process of indications at the scene with Moyo.

Detective Dennis Nkomo told the court that Moyo admitted killing Sibanda and freely made the statement without duress.

The State relied on the evidence from Sanganayi Pesanayi, a pathologist, who examined Sibanda and indicated that he died due to asphyxia, bronciioaspiration, and a head injury as a result of assault.

The matter continues today.

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