By Court Reporter
A ZIMBABWE National Army soldier was Tuesday slapped with a seven-year jail term for setting his pregnant girlfriend on fire.
Trust Mugari was convicted after a full trial.
He had denied the allegations insisting girlfriend Pamela Dhliwayo burnt herself while trying to commit suicide.
However, prosecutor Ephraim Zinyandu proved that he committed the offence, noting that the gunner did not render any help upon realising that the victim was on fire.
Mugari will however, serve an effective five years behind bars after Harare magistrate Lucy Mungwari conditionally suspended two years of the sentence.
Ruling on the case, Mungwari said a custodial sentence was relevant as community service or a fine would trivialise such offences.
The judge said Mugari should learn that what he did was wrong since he neglected his family going to stay with Dhliwayo only to turn against her after impregnating her.
She ruled that evidence given by the complainant and her sister proved that Mugari had intended to eliminate Dhliwayo and her unborn baby in order to save his marriage which was on the rocks.
Life changing injuries
The court said a stiff penalty was appropriate considering that Dhliwayo was no longer able to fend for her child from her previous marriage after the burns paralysed one of her arms in addition to other severe injuries.
The complainant is also still being treated at the expense of her mother after the accident.
Prosecuting, Ephraim Zinyandu said the incident occurred on September 17 last year.
On the day in question, Dhliwayo went the home of Mugari’s friend looking for her lover.
Court heard she was in company of a friend.
They found the wife of Mugari’s friend at home and were told that he never went to the house on the day in question.
Dhliwayo returned home and was relaxing on her bed around 8pm when Mugari arrived in the company of his friend and wife.
Court heard Mugari’s friend confronted Dhliwayo asking why she came to his house.
He accused her of stealing his mobile phone and insulting his wife before he attacked her with clenched fists and booted foot.
The couple then left after which the Dhliwayo’s boyfriend also started attacking.
Court heard, Mugari accused his girlfriend of embarrassing and pestering him.
He then reached for a for paraffin stove and emptied the contents on Dhliwayo before setting her on fire.
Dhliwayo was rescued by her sister who was at the house when the dispute arose.