A woman from Kezi who subjected her three-year-old step granddaughter to torture and physical abuse for soiling herself resulting in the toddler’s death, has been sentenced to seven years in jail.
Zambia Moyo (42) of Mankala village in Kezi area assaulted the deceased, Nobesuthu Khumalo, who was left under her custody on several occasions for soiling herself and eating her faeces.
Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi convicted Moyo of a lesser charge of culpable homicide. Moyo will serve an effective five years after two years were suspended for five years on condition that she does not within that period commit a similar offence.
In passing sentence, Justice Mathonsi condemned Moyo’s conduct, saying the courts have a duty to protect children from being abused.
“This was an extremely serious case of child abuse. It doesn’t make sense for any right thinking person to subject a three year-old toddler to repeated assaults until she dies,” he said.
Justice Mathonsi said the courts have a duty to uphold the sanctity of human life.
“Time has come to warn step-parents that the abuse of children will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Human life is sacrosanct no matter how young. We must therefore send a clear message to society,” he said.
Prosecuting, Ms Nonhlanhla Ndlovu said sometime in January 2012, Moyo assaulted the deceased with a switch on different occasions for soiling herself and eating her faeces.
“As a result of the assaults the deceased sustained lacerations all over her body,” said Ms Ndlovu.
The court heard that on January 30 in 2012, the deceased’s condition deteriorated and she was taken to Maphisa District Hospital where she later died on the same day as a result of the injuries she sustained. According to a postmortem report, the cause of death is due to homicide, head injury, blunt force trauma and extradural haematoma. A report was made to the police leading to Moyo’s arrest.
In mitigation through her lawyers Coghlan and Welsh Legal Practitioners, Moyo pleaded for leniency saying it was not her intention to kill the deceased.
She said she only wanted to chastise her step granddaughter for nurturing a habit of soiling herself and eating the waste.