Man convicted of wife’s murder 10 years later #Tried to cover-up her death as a car accident
The wheels of justice have closed in on a Matshelagabedi man who staged a road accident to conceal his wife’s murder.
Almost a decade has passed since Hannifa Dube’s dead body was found behind the wheel of her Mazda Sedan, which had apparently crashed in a culvert along the Matsiloje-Francistown road.
However, her death was no tragic mishap – it was cold-blooded murder.
Appearing before Francistown High Court recently, 55-year-old Youngman Dube was found guilty of killing his wife at the couple’s home and then removing her body from the crime scene.
Dube had repeatedly protested his innocence, insisting he was not present when Hannifa died. In his defence, Dude speculated that a stranger must have murdered his wife, removed her from their home and cleaned up the traces of blood on that terrible day back on 9 November 2009.
Dismissing this argument, Judge Gaongalelwe Ketlogetswe instead ruled, “The deceased’s killer is a person who did not want her death to be traced back to her home and connect it to the accused, who, on the evidence, I find was home at the material time.
“He is the only person who would have had an interest in ensuring the death of his wife is not traced back to their home,” noted the Judge, who described Hannifa’s death as ‘intentional’ and ‘gruesome’.
Although there where no eye-witnesses to the murder, circumstantial evidence suggested Dube bashed his wife’s head with the blunt side of an axe, leaving a deep jagged cut in the centre.
Police later found the axe close to where the ‘crashed’ car was discovered.
“I am further satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased’s head injury was not a result of a motor accident, as there was never any. Her injury was inflicted on her by some other person,” added Ketlogetswe.
Court heard how Dube attempted to use the cover of darkness to get away with his grisly actions. However, suspicious movements at his homestead did not escape the eyes of his neighbours, who gave graphic descriptions of the events at the Dube’s home the night before Hannifa’s body was found.
“It was a hot night. While seated outside at around 8 o’clock I saw a motor vehicle that looked like the deceased’s coming driving past from the direction of the accused place and at high speed,” stated Tapson Fane, a neighbour to the Dubes.
Another neighbour, Chandapiwa Gwebu told court she knew the accused and his late wife.
“I regarded the accused as my uncle and the deceased as my mom. From October 2009, mom used to call me over to her place to come and spend the night with her. She told me she was scared of her husband because he no longer spoke to her at times,” claimed Gwebu, adding she received a call from Hannifa asking her to come over on that fateful night.
“I left my place around 8 in the evening to mom’s house. But I found the house dark. I stood at the gate for a while confused and wondering what was happening,” said Gwebu, who told court she then went to a friend’s house.
“While at Martha’s place, I heard the gate at the deceased’s place open slightly and softly. Then I saw a motor vehicle leave. It was mom’s car, driving at high speed!”
Gwebu says she called Hannifa’s cellphone but there was no response.
“I also sent a short text message, but still there was no response!”
It was only three hours later, at around 11pm, that Gwebu finally saw the lights at the deceased’s house go on.
“When I left Martha’s place the gate was now closed, but the deceased’s car was still not home!” she testified.
Meanwhile, the police officer who attended the motor accident said evidence at the scene and the damage to the car was inconsistent with a normal accident.
“There were no skid marks on the tarmac. The bumper and the car tyres were intact; the damage to the windscreen was above the bonnet. The spiderweb-like cracks on the screen were caused from outside,” testified Assistant Superitendent Kgomo, the accident investigations expert.
Having found the accused guilty, Judge Keltogetswe is expected to pass sentence soon.