AN armed robber who brutally murdered a security guard at Grafax Cotton Company offices in Gokwe has been given a new lease of life after the Supreme Court heeded an appeal against his death penalty sentence.

Doubt Mathe, in the company of two unknown other people stole cash, two solar inverters and a generator nine years ago after killing Taurayi Mache.

High Court Judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi, sitting on circuit in Gweru, convicted him of murder with actual intent and sentenced him to death in January this year. Sitting at the Supreme Court in Bulawayo on Monday, Justice Paddington Garwe who was assisted by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu and Justice Susan Mavangira said Mathe’s appeal had succeeded.

Mathe of Zunguziva village under Chief Chireya in Gokwe, whose age was not given, had questioned why he was convicted of murder when a regional magistrate had acquitted him of the robbery. “By consent of the both parties, the appeal succeeds and judgement has been set aside. This matter has been referred back to the court and the court is ordered to investigate the acquittal and accused’s guilt in the matter,” said Justice Garwe.

In passing sentence, Justice Mathonsi had said people should respect the sanctity of human life. He said the circumstances surrounding the commission of the crime show that it was premeditated. The judge said the murder was committed in the course of a robbery, therefore the death sentence was appropriate.

It was the State’s case that on June 15, 2008 at around 1 AM, Mathe and his accomplices, one of whom is now deceased and the other one who is at large, brutally murdered a security guard, Taurai Mache (24), who was manning Grafax Cotton Company offices in Gokwe.

They hit him with a hoe handle, cracking his skull. In his notice of appeal through his lawyer Mr Shenje of Shenje and Company, Mathe said the court erred in finding him guilty of murder with actual intent.

“The accused was once charged with robbery on the same case and was acquitted by a regional magistrate in Gokwe.” On June 14, 2008 at around 6 PM, the now deceased Mache reported for duty and found Ms Winnie Sigwala, who was a cotton buyer, still at work. Ms Sigwala then proceeded home within the same premises.

At around 12 midnight, Mathe and his two accomplices went into the Grafax Cotton Company premises armed with a hoe handle and found Mache on duty. The three assaulted him with the hoe handle several times on his head until he fell unconscious while bleeding profusely.

After the attack, Mathe and his accomplices proceeded to Ms Sigwala’s house where they found her asleep. They broke down the door and gained entry into the house. The three demanded money from her, threatening to kill her after informing her that they had already killed Mache. Sigwala directed the accused and his accomplices to where the money was. They stole Z$50 billion, two solar inverters and a generator which they put in a bag belonging to Ms Sigwala.

SOURCE: Chroncle