A businessman in Zambia identified as Nshinka Kaputo who murdered his lover, Precious Mangesana has been sentenced to death by hanging and 25 years imprisonment with hard labour four causing grievous harm to his three-year-old daughter.
High Court judge Catherine Phiri said it was unfortunate that Kaputo‚Äôs selfishness to possess the child resulted in Mangesana‚Äôs death and causing injury to the child.
Justice Phiri said that parents have equal rights to a child, but in carrying out his selfish motives, Kaputo ended up injuring the three-year-old who was innocent.
In this matter, Kaputo was facing charges of murder and intent to cause grievous harm.
Kaputo on October 5, 2017 shot dead Mangesana and wounded his daughter.
Mangesana met her fate when she went to collect her daughter, who was the bone of contention between the two, from Nshinka‚Äôs residence in Lusaka‚Äôs Meanwood area.
The incident occurred around 19:00 hours following a misunderstanding on who was going to take custody of the child during the couple‚Äôs separation.
According to a forensic pathologist, Mangesana‚Äôs death was caused by a fatal gunshot wound on the neck which cut through a major blood vessel and caused damage to the spinal code.
Doctor Luchenga Muchelenganga said Mangesana was nocked down by the bullet which drilled her neck.
He said according to the sequencing of the gunshots, the first bullet infiltrated the arm two cm above the elbow and lodged in the breast, while the second one penetrated the Left side of the neck causing two exit wounds on the right side and the third bullet pierced the left thigh and lodged in the abdomen.
‚ÄúPrecious had three wounds. The wounds showed skin burns because of the near gunshots of about 15 to 30 centimetres. There were no other injuries on the body except for the bullet wounds. She was first shot in the left arm, which was not fatal. Then shot in the left side of the neck, this one was fatal as it cut through the major blood vessel in the neck, penetrated the spinal cord and cut it off completely. And the last shot was in the left leg,‚ÄĚ he said.
Dr Muchelenganga said the gunshots caused damage to the bone in the arm, the spinal code and a perforation in the small intestines.
He further concluded that the incident was not suicidal but a homicide as the pattern of the injuries showed that they were inflicted by another person.
But in his defence, Kaputo said on the material day, Precious got the gun from a secret place where they used to hide it at his house and approached him outside the gate while he was holding their daughter.
He said when he realised that Precious was holding a gun, he got scared and knew she was headed for trouble.
He (Kaputo) asked her what she was doing with the firearm.
Kaputo claimed the deceased told him that she was tired and just wanted to end things and that the two would kill themselves.
‚ÄúWhen I realised from her tone, posture and the things she was saying, I knew she was about to do something. My quickest reaction was to get closer to her and hold on to her gun. We got so close and whilst holding my daughter on the other hand, I held on to Precious‚Äô right hand where the gun was,‚ÄĚ he told court. ‚ÄúWhilst Holding on to the gun I was ensuring that it doesn‚Äôt point at me or her but points either to the ground or up. Whilst struggling, the gun went off. In that instance, about two to three shots were fired. And from where we were standing some spark for the first shots that were fired must have hit the car somehow. I noticed at that point, my daughter was down, Precious was also down, and so was the gun. When I rushed to pick up my daughter, I noticed that she was bleeding from her neck. I was very scared and traumatised.‚ÄĚ
Delivering judgment, justice Phiri said the explanation by Kaputo that he acted in self-defence was an afterthought as he had intentions to cause harm to his lover.
She found that the wounds sustained by the Multichoice employee were not self-inflicted as there were no struggling marks on the ground and that there was no logical explanation to the shots that were fired in cold blood.
Justice Phiri further found that the convict was an experienced firearm user and he was aware of the dangers of using a loaded firearm.
‚ÄúLooking at the circumstances of the case, that the first shot was to the left arm, the second shot to the neck, which was a fatal shot, and the shot to the thigh, which was inflicted while the deceased was on the ground, the only irresistable conclusion that can be arrived at is that the accused had the intention to cause grievous harm to the deceased,‚ÄĚ she said.
‚ÄúClearly, any person who attacks another with a dangerous weapon can only have one intention, and that is to cause grievous bodily harm or death.‚ÄĚ
Justice Phiri said the multiple shots which were targeted at Precious were done in a savage manner with no regard for human life.
She said Kaputo‚Äôs reaction after the shooting was not one that was expected in an accidental shooting as he did nothing to preserve his lover‚Äôs life as he failed to tell his sister that Mangesana was lying helpless on the ground and gave her the child which shows he had no regards for her life.
Justice Phiri said Kaputo did not act in self-defense as he should have retreated when he shot Mangesana‚Äôs elbow. She said Kaputo had not rendered any justification for his acts.
She found Kaputo guilty in both counts as charged and convicted him.
In his mitigation through his lawyer Mulunda Hibajene, Kaputo said a failed defence of provocation and self-defence amount to extenuating circumstances and the court should consider them as such.
He said the incident was as a result of the custodianship of the child and blamed Mangesana for following him to his residence.
Mulunda said though the court might find Kaputo guilty, the facts demand any other sentence and not a death penalty.
Handing down her sentence, justice Phiri sent Kaputo to the gallows and directed that he should be pronounced dead by a medical doctor.
She also imposed a 25-year jail term on Kaputo with hard labour, for causing grievous harm to his daughter.
‚ÄúNot only was the innocent child injured, this child was his own child. In a passion to claim his selfish rights over her, and I say selfish because the mother and father have equal rights to a child, he ended up injuring the child. It is just by the grace of God that the projectile did not also fatally injure the child,‚ÄĚ said justice Phiri
The distraught looking Kaputo who had always shown pompousness during trial was composed even after he was sent to hang.
Speaking after the judgment, Mangesana‚Äôs aunt, Elizabeth Mangesana, said Kaputo deserved to be hanged and the 25 years jail term was fair as he almost killed his own daughter.