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A man from Inyathi in Matabeleland North has been jailed for 20 years for striking and killing his neighbour with an axe handle and bicycle chain following an argument during gambling.
Reason Sibanda (24) of Village 2 Badala left Lovemore Nxumalo (28) for dead with multiple fractures on the head after severally pounding his head on February 28 this year.
The two were drinking beer with other patrons when Sibanda pounced on Nxumalo claiming he was revenging an earlier attack on him by the now deceased and his dozen friends.
Nxumalo died in hospital two days later.
Bulawayo High Court judge Christopher Dube-Banda, on circuit in Hwange, found Sibanda guilty of murder with actual intent stating that he was too brutal and deserved a lengthy sentence.
Nothing was suspended from the sentence.
Other patrons who witnessed the attack told the court that Sibanda stepped on Nxumalo with one foot as the latter lay on the ground and continued to pound on his head with the axe handle.
In his defence, Sibanda claimed the now deceased provoked him.
“I had no intention to kill him. I was acting in self-defence because he threatened to assault me again after he once beat me up with his 12 friends and I was hospitalised for three months,” said Sibanda.
Prosecutor Bheki Tshabalala said: “On the 28th of February 2020 at midnight, the accused and deceased were gambling together with other people at Badala Business Centre in Inyathi.
“The accused assaulted the deceased with an axe handle and bicycle chain severally on the head and body accusing him of having assaulted him before in the company of 12 friends.”
He said Sibanda tried to gamble using a cell phone handset, but other gamblers refused to accept it because it was old.
This did not go down well with Sibanda who left the scene going to his homestead from where he emerged armed with an axe handle and bicycle chain.
After the assault, he left the scene and was arrested while hiding in a neighbouring village.
Nxumalo was rushed to Inyathi District Hospital where he died two days later.