MAN STABS COUSIN OVER BEER MUG SHARING DUE TO HIV STATUS | A man from Insiza district who fatally stabbed his cousin for allegedly refusing to share a beer mug with him because of his HIV status, was yesterday sentenced to an effective 20 years in jail.
Bhekimpilo Mpofu (28) of Nyozane Village was convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court Justice Nokuthula Moyo on circuit in Hwange. He stabbed his cousin, Victor Mpofu (22) with an Okapi knife, piercing through the ribcage into the heart resulting in the deceased bleeding to death.
In her judgment, Justice Moyo said Bhekimpilo, in his testimony, lied about the circumstances under which the offence was committed.
The judge said Bhekimpilo used severe force to thrust the knife twice into his cousin’s chest resulting in him inflicting serious injuries which caused Mpofu’s death.
In passing the sentence, Justice Moyo bemoaned violence, particularly at beer drinking places, saying the courts have a duty to uphold the sanctity of human life through passing deterrent sentences.
“Beer drinking places have suddenly become places of slaughter where people are butchered without justification. The slightest of misunderstandings will result in unnecessary loss of life. The courts have a duty to protect the sanctity of human life. There cannot be an excuse to kill someone over their own beer,” said the judge.
“The courts frown upon violence and a clear message has to be sent out there that people who commit such crimes will not be treated with kid gloves,” said Justice Moyo.
Prosecuting, Ms Charlene Gorerino said on March 30 this year at around 9PM, Bhekimpilo and Vincent were at Mangena Bottle Store drinking beer together with friends when an altercation ensued between the two cousins.
“While the accused and deceased were drinking, Vincent told Bhekimpilo that he would not pass on the mug of opaque beer as he was not the one buying and this resulted in a misunderstanding,” said Ms Gorerino.
The court heard that two men stood up and confronted each other.
Bhekimpilo drew an Okapi knife from his pocket and stabbed Vincent twice on the chest.
After the attack, Vincent stormed out of the bottle store with Bhekimpilo pursuing him. On realising that the deceased was bleeding profusely, the accused fled from the scene.
Vincent succumbed to the injuries a few minutes later. According to the post mortem results, the cause of the death was stab wound, haemorrhagic shock, assault and perforated right ventricle.
The court heard that their drinking mates and a member of the neighbourhood watch commit tracked Bhekimpilo and apprehended him leading to his arrest. The knife which was used in the crime was recovered.
In his defence through his pro deo lawyer, Ms Joyln Change of Ndove, Museta and Partners, Bhekimpilo said he was provoked by his cousin when he told their drinking mates that he should not be allowed to drink opaque beer from the same mug because of his HIV status.
“I got angry when the deceased refused to share beer with me, saying I was likely to infect them with HIV if I continued to drink from the same cup they were using. He told our drinking mates that I was HIV positive and should therefore not be allowed to sip from the same mug,” he said.
Bhekimpilo said when he tried to leave the bottle store, his cousin blocked him and in the process attempted to stab him with a screwdriver, which then forced him to retaliate in self defence.