Cruel stepdad jailed 10 months

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
A HARARE man who physically assaulted his three-year-old stepdaughter, seriously injuring her in the process, has been jailed 10 months. Cecil Matara (20) of Epworth assaulted the minor for not greeting him. He pleaded guilty to ill-treating a child when he appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Tendai Mahwe who said cases of child abuse were on the increase and a clear message needed to be sent to would-be offenders.

“Honestly, how can you tie a three-year-old upside down merely because she did not greet you? Your conduct is so cruel,” he said. “Cases of child abuse are on the increase, therefore, there is need for the courts to protect the minor child from this kind of abuse. You deserve to be sent to jail.”

It is understood that on March 16 at around 6am, Matara took a cooking stick and hit the toddler on her left arm for no reason. Due to the assault, the minor sustained a swollen arm and did not receive medical attention.

The stepfather then left home and returned in the evening. When he returned home around 9pm, he started shouting at the toddler accusing her of not greeting him on time. He removed the toddler’s clothes and took his belt which he used to tie her legs together.

Matara fastened the belt at the back of the door with the child hanging upside-down. The child cried for help and when her mother tried to untie her, he stopped her and threatened to assault her.

He went to sleep at around 11pm, leaving the toddler still suspended. When his wife noticed that he had fallen asleep, she alerted their neighbour, a police officer. Together with the police officer and other neighbours, the toddler’s mother went back home and untied the minor before wrapping her in a blanket as she was shivering.

According to the State, Matara has a pending case of a similar nature before a Mbare magistrate.

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