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Suspected thief quizzes accuser, then dies in dock


By Arnold Mutemi

A GWERU man facing allegations of theft collapsed and died in the dock at the Gweru magistrate’s court yesterday.

People in criminal court number three which was being presided by magistrate Mr David Johnstone Butcher were stunned when 32yearold Luke Munovapei who had just finished crossexamining his accuser slumped in the dock.

The chief law officer for the central division, Mr Maxwell Takuva, confirmed the incident and said Munovapei was confirmed dead by an ambulance crew that had been summoned to attend to him.

His body which spent the lunch hour in court number three, was later taken by the police to the Gweru provincial hospital for a post mortem.

Business briefly came to a standstill as police officers collected the body in an aluminum coffin.

“We need a post mortem to establish the cause of death,” Mr Takuva said.

Munovapei of Guinea Fowl compound was alleged to have stolen an advanced DAL scientific calculator from a pupil at Guinea Fowl High School where he was employed in the dormitories as a general hand.

He pleaded not guilty to theft and his trial started yesterday. He was out of custody.

Mr Takuva said after the complainant had given her evidence, Munovapei was given a chance to crossexamine her.

He asked three questions after which the court also asked the girl some questions.

“He started showing signs of not being well and collapsed. An ambulance was called and the crew confirmed that he was dead,” Mr Takuva said.

Allegations against him were that sometime in June last year, he stole a calculator worth about $40 000 from the complainant.

His body was taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals for a postmortem.
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