‘I didn’t do it, she did!’

Bame Piet
Jayaguru with his lawyer Keorapele Sambere and Uncle Joseph Jayaguru

Accused paraffin killer protest innocence

Maintains girlfriend set herself on fire

A Zimbabwean man on trial for allegedly burning his girlfriend alive insists he didn’t do it, claiming she committed suicide by setting herself on fire instead.

33-year-old Darlington Jayaguru, who is facing an additional charge of arson, is accused of pouring paraffin over Joyce Chationa, 43, and setting her alight during a lover’s row at their home in Kanye on 16 July 2015.

Chationa, who was also originally from Zimbabwe, died from her burns in hospital two days later.

With the state’s case complete after calling upon their eight witnesses, on Monday it was Jayaguru turn to take to the stand to give his side of the story.

He confirmed they had been arguing, each convinced they were being cheated on. The accused killer further said Chationa had indicated she wanted to fall pregnant again despite aborting their child two years earlier.

He said the argument was prompted by a telephone call from his other girlfriend in Zimbabwe on Friday evening and Saturday morning just a few days earlier.

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Jayaguru claimed Chationa had threatened to kill herself if he left her for girls his own age, adding she did not want him to go out to hustle since he made a decent living as a panel-beater.

He said that on the fateful evening, he left their rented room to go to a pit latrine in the backyard and was disturbed by screams and flames, only to find out that his girlfriend was on fire.

He said he rushed into the house, picked a bucket with water and poured it on the deceased. They then rushed to the standpipe where he poured more water on her but it was too late.

“She was screaming, saying she had burned herself with paraffin and that I should pour some water on her. She held my hand screaming that I should help her and I did,” he testified before the hushed court.

However, the Prosecutor, Neo Molelekwa remained unconvinced by this version of events, pointing out it was a deviation from what Jayaguru wrote in the original police statement.

Dismissing the evidence as a fabrication, Molelekwa put it to Jayaguru that he set his girlfriend on fire because he wanted to keep both of them.

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The case continues in December.

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