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Daughter ‘killer’ faces judge after 16 years

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A Gwanda man, 59, allegedly killed his daughter, 5, and cut off part of her arm before claiming that she had fallen into a fire while cooking.

Chest Moyo, allegedly committed the offence in 2000 when he was aged 43, and told neighbours that the toddler fell into the fire while cooking after hiding his blood stained clothes.

Moyo had been out of custody since 2000 due to ill health and was taken in sometime in April this year after two doctors and a psychiatrist confirmed that he was physically and mentally fit to stand trial.

His daughter’s body was found on a fire tripod (iseko) with a huge gash on the forehead, a missing forearm with signs that it was crudely cut off.

Bulawayo High Court Judge Nicholas Mathonsi yesterday heard that Moyo’s neighbours found his daughter dressed in fresh clothes with no blood stains and no signs of burns.

Only three of the expected 10 witnesses testified as the court heard that the rest were now deceased.

Gift Sibanda, Moyo’s neighbour, said he was approached by Moyo at around 5AM on January 28, 2000, to announce his daughter’s death.

“He told me that his daughter died while trying to cook and I didn’t believe the story. We proceeded to his home and when we went into the kitchen hut, I saw the body on the tripod covered with a blanket,” said Sibanda

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I noticed that she had a big gash on her head and that her buttocks were burnt. I didn’t see blood stains around the body and I quickly suggested that we visit our village head Matshina Ndlovu.”

Albert Ndlovu from the village head’s homestead said:

“I saw him standing at the door shouting at the top of his voice in anger. He was shouting at his senile father and I just proceeded with my journey.

“Later when I got to a certain homestead, I saw Moyo and he told me that his daughter had died. I went back to his home and saw the body in the same hut where I had seen him standing earlier on,” he said.

In his defence, Moyo said his daughter met her fate while cooking as his wife had gone out to look for her missing sister. “I was left with my daughter [on January 27]. I went for a beer drink and came back and made a meal for my family. We then ate and I left home for another drink,” said Moyo.

“I’m sure her hand was eaten by hungry dogs as she was carrying food with the hand. I didn’t do anything but found her lying on the tripod with a wound on the head.”

A post-mortem report showed that the toddler died due to multiple injuries and assault.

Justice Mathonsi remanded the matter to today for continuation of trial.

Nokuthaba Ngwenya for the State alleges that the girl was found dead lying near a small fire place.

“Upon searching the homestead, police recovered Moyo’s blood stained white shirt and brown trousers. Upon enquiry about the origins of the blood, Moyo said it came from a chicken he had slaughtered on January 27 and police failed to recover the chicken feathers,” said Ngwenya

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