A BINGA man who whipped his six-year-old stepdaughter to death accusing her of going to play with her peers at a neighbour’s place has been slapped with an effective seven years in jail.
Delivering the sentence on Wednesday, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Martin Makonese on circuit in Hwange said Qiniso Sibanda, 24, of Lususlu Binga deserved a harsh sentence.
Sibanda pleaded not guilty to the murder of Linda Bongiwe Manyathela, his wife’s daughter from a previous marriage.
But Justice Makonese found him guilty of culpable homicide.
The judge said cases of physical abuse on children by parents were on the rise and said such parents should be harshly dealt with.
“This form of child abuse is becoming common,” said the judge.
“Parents or guardians who abuse children should not expect lesser sentences.
“Such brutality on a young person cannot be tolerated in this modern society and such behaviour is deplorable and calls for a stiffer sentence.
“The girl’s only crime is that she was not home when the stepfather looked for him.”
Justice Makonese said Sibanda was lucky because he was a first offender and tendered a limited plea.
Prosecuting, Namatirai Ngwasha, told the court that on December 29 last year, the girl’s mother Sithembile Manyathela left her in the company of Sibanda as she went away from home.
However, when Sibanda wanted to go to work he couldn’t find the little girl.
Infuriated by her absence, he armed himself with a switch and started looking for her and found at an uncle’s homestead in the same village.
Sibanda used a switch and an unknown object to assault his stepdaughter until she fell unconscious.
He then dumped her in the kitchen hut at his mother, Monica Sibanda’s homestead.
Monica found the lifeless girl in the kitchen and tried to render first aid but the juvenile was long dead. A report was made to police leading to Sibanda’s arrest.
The post-mortem showed she died from head injuries.
Elvis Mashindi, of Mashindi and Company Legal Practitioners represented Sibanda pro deo.