A Beitbridge man who shot dead his wife and mother-in-law during a domestic dispute, on Wednesday escaped the hangman’s noose by a whisker because “he was presumed insane at the time the offence was committed”.
Bulawayo High Court judge Andrew Mutema granted Thinandavha Kwinda Muleya special verdict due to his condition at the time he killed the two in cold blood.
Muleya was represented by David Miribidi.
State prosecutor Angeline Munyeriwa, concurred with the defence lawyer and pleaded with the judge to grant Muleya “a special verdict” as there was evidence from mental health experts before the court that the accused was mentally disturbed at the time he committed the offence in 2012.
Muleya’s mental illness was presented as extenuating evidence in court, it was shown that the accused had a disorder that dated back from 1992 when he was in junior high school.
His relatives testified that he had once been treated by a traditional healer and that he later sought medical treatment from South Africa.
Muleya who had reportedly married and divorced several times also had a history of abusing alcohol and hard drugs such as mbanje and cocaine.
Justice Mutema ruled that the court was satisfied that Muleya was insane when he killed his wife, Hildah Maphosa who was aged 24 and his 53-year-old mother-in-law, Joice Maphosa.
The judge said Muleya is still a danger to society and must be returned to prison, to be admitted at a mental health institution.
“Generally, a doctor’s report does not bind the court, but in the instant case, the psychiatrist’s report is accepted in its totality,” ruled Justice Mutema.
“The accused is found not guilty and acquitted in respect of both counts by reason of insanity. However, that should not be the end of the matter. The psychologist opined that he is a danger to society and requires treatment. It is the duty of the court not to unleash such people to the society; the society needs to be protected”.
It was the state’s case that Muleya had a dispute with his wife, Hildah, on Decemeber 26 2012, which prompted his wife to leave the matrimonial home for her parents’ home at Mtetengwe area, under Chief Stauze.
Muleya reportedly followed her the next day and was advised by his father-in-law to bring his people so that the matter could be resolved.
He left and later returned with his wife’s belongings which he dumped within his in-laws’ yard.
An argument then ensued between the couple as Hildah picked up her belongings which were thrown all over the place.
During the argument, Muleya reportedly withdrew his firearm, a VZOR pistol and shot his wife once on the head and she died instantly.
The now deceased’s mother, Joice who was in the kitchen heard the gunshot and got up to close the door.
As she attempted to do so, Muleya shot her once in the head and the woman fell and died on the spot.