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Binga mother spared jail after sitting on 2-year-old daughter to death, sent to psychiatric institution

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By Staff Reporter


A 35-year-old Binga woman killed her two-year-old daughter by sitting on top of her in May 2023, a Bulawayo court has heard.

The woman, Shuvai Machongwe is from Chalisenga 1 Village, Lunga area, under Chief Sinakatenge.

Machongwe is a mental patient and has been found not guilty on the condition of insanity by High Court Judge Justice Christopher Dube-Banda.

The judge directed that she be sent to a psychiatric institution for treatment since she is still a danger to society.

The National Prosecuting Authority said on May 2 2023 Thandiwe Munsaka, Machongwe’s co-wife observed that the latter was behaving awkwardly.

“She sang church songs the whole night and she was pacing up and down. She never slept,” the court was told.

Six days later, Munsaka went to fetch water from the river leaving Machongwe with their daughters, including the deceased Gaudencia Sibanda.

Upon her return, she learnt from her minor daughter that Machongwe had left home for the shopping centre with the deceased.

At around 1200 hours Munsaka followed Machongwe upon realising she had taken too long to return home.

“They got information that the deceased had been observed going into the bush.

“The two tracked the accused’s footprint until they found her sitting. They observed that the accused was sitting on top of the deceased,” the court heard.

Munsaka then sought assistance from two men, Addlord Sabasa and Edmore Mwinde who apprehended the accused.

The court heard Munsaka picked up Machongwe’s daughter who was no longer showing any signs of life.

With the consent, prosecutors tendered two documentary exhibits including the post-mortem report and and a psychiatric report exhibit confirming Machongwe was mentally unstable.

“In my opinion, there is a reasonable possibility that at the time of the alleged crime, the accused was suffering from a mental disorder (schizophrenia). She was mentally disturbed to such an extent that she should not be held legally responsible for her actions. She is dangerous to society and needs a special verdict to return,” said Dr Poskotchinova who examined her.

“In the circumstances, it is appropriate for the court to return a special verdict, that is the accused is not guilty because of insanity,” ruled the judge.