Arson teenager jailed 10 years for granny’s death
A BULAWAYO teenager has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for causing the death of his 76-year-old grandmother at their house in Lobengula West.
Coster Sibanda (19) pushed his granny Ebbie Mhlanga against a dressing table resulting in a candle falling off and setting the room ablaze.
A court heard that Sibanda had an argument with Mhlanga regarding his habit of locking her in the house and going away with the keys.
It is the State’s case that Mhlanga tried to discipline Sibanda with a switch in her bedroom but he pushed her and she hit against a dressing table.
Bulawayo Regional magistrate Mr Chrispen Mberewere convicted Sibanda due to overwhelming evidence that nullified his plea of not guilty to culpable homicide.
He said causing loss of life is a serious offence that can never be trivialised.
“You shall go to prison for 10 years. Three years will be suspended on condition of good behaviour for the next five years. This court took into consideration that you are a young person and already bearing the thought that you caused the death of your grandmother.
“Your conduct caused the now deceased to fall. You fled the room after you realised that your grandmother had fallen. The postmortem shows that the deceased sustained no serious injuries from where she hit on the headboard. She was actually killed by the fire,” said Mr Mberewere.
He said one of the elements that gets a person convicted of culpable homicide is that there be proof that accused person foresees danger or risk of loss of life in an act.
“In this case a candle fell to the ground during the unfolding of events that led to the accident. Accused person had noticed that his grandmother had fallen and was naturally supposed to check if she was alright, especially considering her age.
“You testified that you sat outside after your grandmother had fallen. You did not bother to check why she had not followed you since she wanted to discipline you. A reasonable person in your position should have known that the candle would fall since it did not have a supporting stand. In this case you were negligent hence you caused the death of your grandmother.”
Prosecuting, Mr Simbarashe Manyiwa said the incident occurred on August 12 last year, at around 9PM.
“During the argument the accused person pushed the now deceased against the dressing table. She fell and hit her head against the table’s corner. A candle that was on top of the dressing table fell on the bed, ignited the blankets and mosquito net before the whole room went up in flames,” said Mr Manyiwa.
He said Sibanda rushed next door to get assistance from one Nxusani Mhlanga who managed to save one Masala Sithole. —@tannytkay.