HARARE – Emelda Marizani, the Chivhu woman who beheaded her four children in 2020 to spite her cheating husband, has been convicted for the crimes by High Court judge Munamato Mutevedzi.
The judge described the murder as callous, ruling that there was no justification for Marizani to try and get even with her husband using innocent souls.
Marizanhi is charged with four murder counts and was convicted on all counts.
It was her defence that she was mentally unstable when she committed the murders.
But the court ruled that evidence proved that she planned to kill her children long before the incident and was cruel to save her life while ending those of her young ones who had nothing to do with differences between herself and her husband Lameck Brande.
In her statement and oral evidence, Marizani said she wanted to leave Brande “with nothing they had accumulated together”.
“The only inference we can draw is that she had long planned to kill her children,” said the judge.
“In this case, all her actions are completely inexplicable. Her behaviour is because of the acrimony which already existed between her and her husband.
“The accused admits in her statement and oral evidence that she killed her children to spite her husband. She wanted to leave him with nothing they had accumulated together.
“It is very unfortunate she considered her children to be part of their acquisitions,” said the judge.
Mutevedi also said this is further explained by her failure to explain why she was keeping rat poison in the family car.
It also emerged that she had an up-to-date funeral policy for her four children which did not include herself and her husband.
The husband was also not aware of the policy.
The judge said from everything that transpired, it was clear that she wanted to survive.
“If she indeed wanted to kill herself, she had all the opportunity but she did not put more effort on that as she did with her children,” said the judge.
“She gave herself an opportunity to live. She said she looked for a wire to hang herself. She could have used any other alternative or would have let herself be consumed in the inferno she had started.
“She was clearly afraid of the fire. It is our view that she used her children as pawns to spite her husband. She killed them thinking she will then get even with her husband and girlfriend.
“The way she explained everything is shocking and it becomes difficult to accept that she wasn’t aware of what she was up to.
“We accept that shedding tears is not the only way to express emotional pain. Your actions typifies a woman who is heartless.
“One can kill her own child but when one goes to kill four, it shows that she was determined to do so.
“From the totality, we conclude that the accused failed to prove she was mentally handicapped when she killed her children. The medical evidence was totally unreliable.
“It is on that basis that we are convinced that the State has managed to prove its case beyond any reasonable doubt and the accused is found guilty and convicted in all four murder counts,” the judge ruled.
Marizani and Brande’s marriage was on the rocks and the state proved the couple had been fighting all the time.
The mother of five reached a breaking point after she confronted her husband’s girlfriend, one Chelsea Bepete who told her that she was now pregnant from a relationship with Marizani’s husband.
Bepete is also alleged to have told Marizani that she was no longer loved because she was failing to deliver a son as per her husband’s wishes.
Earlier on the fateful day, Marizani had fought with her husband over Bepete’s issue.
She then went home where she poisoned her daughters’ juice before she cut off their heads and set the house on fire.
Marizani then took funeral policy papers for her children and surrendered herself at the police station.
She had also gulped some rat poison and was rushed to hospital where the lethal substance was successfully neutralised.
Marizani gave birth to her fifth child while in jail.
Mutevedzi said evidence before him proved that she never had any mental challenges.
Marizani had also told court that she had a troubled childhood following the separation of her parents which partly contributed to the fate which her family met.
But the judge said her actions had nothing to do with her upbringing.
“The court must in conclusion look at the factual evidence and the defence,” said the judge.
“Given the above discussion, the probability for her to escape conviction is for her to prove that when she laced her children’s juices and cut them, she was actually unstable to understand that.
“As a matter of fact, the accused was subjected to sexual and physical abuse by her husband. His threat to take another wife appears to have been the last straw to her.
“From our analysis, Lameck’s infidelity spanned over a decade. She did not report him, but instead endured all the pain and abuse. In that respect, that speaks volumes to her mental stability.
“Lameck instead displayed the unexpected prompting the accused to think otherwise but that does not amount to mental instability,’ ruled the judge.
Sentencing is next Friday.