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High Court acquits drug addict who axed mum, grandmother to death

12/03/2017 00:00:00
by Matabeleland North Correspondent
 
 
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A HIGH Court judge has retained a special verdict and acquitted a drug addict from Kennilworth in Inyathi who, two years ago, fatally axed his mother and grandmother after they reprimanded him for eating without washing hands.

The court heard that Artwell Tshuma, 29, of Masimini Village became mentally ill after he started abusing drugs as a young boy.

He was in a relapse when he axed his mother Thoko Tshuma, 52, and grandmother Rosina Dhliwayo, 73, by crushing their heads with an axe in December 2015 while at the family homestead when family members had gathered for breakfast.

Bulawayo High Court judge, Justice Maxwell Takuva, who is on circuit in Hwange, heard that Tshuma had been a psychiatric patient since his teenage years but defaulted in taking medication.

The acquittal by was in terms of Section 29 of the Mental Health Act.

Justice Takuva however, said Tshuma was a danger to the society and will not be released to the society.

“The court is satisfied that at the time you committed the offence you were mentally disturbed,” the judge said.

“The court will retain a special verdict of not guilty because of insanity but we are however not satisfied that you are fit to be discharged because you are a danger to the society.”

Tshuma was facing two counts of murder.

“The accused butchered the two deceased for no apparent reason by literally crushing their skulls as evidenced by the post-mortem reports,” the judge said.

“A person who does that to a human being isn’t fit to live among people and as such you are to be confirmed to prison for transfer to a mental institution because this is the only way we can
guarantee that you don’t kill more people.”

Tshuma’s late mother died from eight deep cuts on the head while Dhliwayo had five deep cuts and three broken ribs.

Prosecuting, Namatirayi Ngwasha said the monstrous murders were committed on December 16 at the family’s homestead in the morning.

“On December 16, 2015, the two deceased and Florence Khumalo were sitting in a kitchen hut to have breakfast.

“Accused refused to wash his hands before eating and threatened to assault his mother if she continued telling him to wash his hands,” said the prosecutor.

The court heard that Tshuma allegedly went out of the hut and returned armed with an axe.



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“His mother ran away but he chased and caught up with her. He struck her once on the head and she fell down.

“The grandmother followed trying to restrain Tshuma who then picked a hoe handle and struck her on the head.”

The elderly woman and her daughter lay helpless next to each other and Tshuma continued to hit them both with a hoe handle.

Khumalo fled from the scene and alerted neighbours.


 
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