Bailed rape suspect kills victim

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Reporter—
A schoolteacher, who was in July freed on bail for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl, reportedly killed the victim to conceal evidence. Bernard Chiwengwa (45), a teacher at Nyamhondoro Secondary School in Mudzi, reappeared in court facing a fresh charge of murder barely three months after his release on bail on rape charges. Chiwengwa was notasked to plead to the murder charge on his first appearance at Murehwa Magistrate’s Court on October 20.

He is now seeking his release on bail at the High Court on the murder charge. Chiwengwa is expected back in court on January 13. According to the prosecution’s papers, Chiwengwa, who was being charged with raping a 14-year old girl, was granted bail on July 22 after a chief law officer in the National Prosecution Authority filed a consent paper for the granting of bail.

Chiwengwa works in Mudzi, but lives in Dzapasi Village under Chief Mangwende in Murehwa. On October 15, it is alleged that Chiwengwa unsuccessfully tried to abduct the girl, but she screamed and rushed to her neighbours for help. When she escaped, the girl reported the case to Chiwengwa’s mother who stayed next to her family.

The girl’s parents had travelled and she sought refuge at the Chiwengwa homestead. Chiwengwa’s mother sent two other girls—who happened to be daughters of Chiwengwa’s brother—to go to the scene and investigate. Upon their arrival, it is alleged the girls saw Chiwengwa lying in a trench and identified him as the culprit who had tried to abduct the girl. On the

same day in the evening, the girl was accompanied to her home by the other two girls (Chiwenga’s nieces) to secure the doors. The girl got into the bathroom to collect a bucket of water and Chiwengwa who was hiding behind the bathroom appeared, grabbed and carried her away as the other girls watched. The two girls screamed for help and rushed home to inform Chiwengwa’s mother of the alleged kidnap.

A day later, another villager, Mr Courage Chipuriro discovered the corpse of the girl dumped in a eucalyptus plantation in the village. A police report was made and investigations were launched. Detectives from Criminal Investigations Department in Murewa attended the scene and discovered that the shoeprints visible matched those worn by Chiwengwa.

Chiwenga’s shoes were taken as an exhibit in the matter. Police investigations led to the arrest of Chiwengwa as the prime suspect. It is the State’s case that Chiwengwa raped the girl on June 27 this year around 6pm.

He waylaid the girl as she walked from the bus stop and tripped her to the ground before raping her. After raping the girl, Chiwengwa abandoned her in the bushy area and fled. The girl went to her grandmother’s house where she reported the abuse. The grandmother informed the girl’s mother resulting in the matter being reported to the police.

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