BULAWAYO, Tuesday, October 13, 1992 — A 52-year-old businesswoman from Filabusi was yesterday sentenced to seven years in jail by a Bulawayo High Court judge for fatally assaulting an eight-year-old girl who was deserted by her parents and left in her custody.
Grace Mafu pleaded not guilty to murder with constructive intent but Mr Justice Muchechetere dismissed Mafu’s evidence as contradictory and hard to believe.
The judge explained that although Mafu had accused some villagers of assaulting the child, they were in fact the ones who had taken care of the girl after the assault.
The judge noted that six months before committing the offence, Mafu had been convicted of child abuse in a case involving the girl.
The court heard that Mafu had been taking care of the girl and her brother after their parents, who had been her employees, disappeared.
On several occasions she assaulted the girl resulting in her seeking refuge at neighbours’ homes. On January 10 last year, Mafu assaulted the girl resulting in her receiving severe injuries.
She was rushed to hospital after some villagers had reported the matter to the police.
She later died in hospital. The court heard that there were extenuating circumstances in that Mafu had taken care of the girl for seven years and had given her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation after the assault.
Mr Josias Makowane prosecuted and Mafu was defended by Mr Joseph James.