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Gweru man burns down 13-roomed house over a joke – sentenced to 10 years in prison

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By Tapiwa Svondo


The Gweru Magistrates’ Court has sentenced Joseph McCarthy to 10 years imprisonment for assault and malicious damage to property.

The court heard that on April 17 McCarthy was drinking with the complainant Munyaradzi Munyanyiwa’s brother Rodreck when the latter made a joke that upset him.

Afterwards, the accused went to look for Rodreck at his brother’s house and as events unfolded McCarthy assaulted the complainant, inflicting an eye injury.

He then set fire to the complainant’s blanket, which quickly spread, burning down Rebecca Nyathi’s 13-roomed house.

“On the 17th of April, the accused person and the complainant’s brother, Rodreck Munyanyiwa were drinking at Woodlands Shops in Gweru when Rodreck made a joke that the accused did not take well. Rodreck left and went home.

“The accused person proceeded to the complainant Munyaradzi Munyanyiwa’s residence to look for Rodreck but could not find him. He attacked the complainant who suffered an eye injury but managed to escape leaving the accused person in his room.

“In a fit of rage, the accused person set fire to the complainant’s blanket and the fire spread to the rest of the house burning down Rebecca Nyathi’s 13-roomed house,” said the prosecution.

McCarthy confessed to his actions to a security guard before he was apprehended and turned over to the police.

“When he fled the scene, he passed through the Woodlands Phase 1 Shops and told a security guard what he had done. He was apprehended by Munyaradzi Munyanyiwa and his neighbours who turned him over to police”.

McCarthy damaged property worth US$22 415 and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment however three years suspended and an additional four years suspended on the condition of restitution.

“He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment of which 3 years were suspended. A further 4 years were suspended on condition of restitution of US$21 000 to Rebecca Nyathi and 1 year suspended on condition of restitution of US$755 to Munyaradzi Munyanyiwa. He will serve 2 years effectively,” added NPA.