HARARE – A Chivhu woman who beheaded her four children in a shock 2020 reaction to her marital troubles left court stunned recently when she said she committed the gruesome acts to save the minors from what she believed was going to be an abusive stepmother.
Following the trial, High Court judge Munamato Mutevedzi Wednesday reserved judgement in the matter.
Emelda Marizanhi is accused of feeding her four children with rat poison before cutting off their heads.
She told court that she killed her children out of love.
Through her lawyers, she claims she was mentally unstable when she committed the offence.
She maintains her condition is hereditary since there is a history of mental illness in her family.
Her mother, Marai Mupini and her maternal aunt, Eunice Mutukwa also defended her telling court she was in fact a loving mother.
The woman’s family members said they were still finding it difficult to accept that she indeed killed her daughters.
Relatives also confirmed the existence of mental illness history from her paternal side.
As trial concluded Wednesday, Marizanhi said she did not regret the crimes as she was trying to save her children from the abuse they were going to get from their father’s new wife after her departure.
“I also wanted to die,” she said.
“That day I first took rat poison…the pills and called my children to take them as well before I instructed them to go to bed,” she said in her defence.
“I was not breathing well and I realised there were survival chances; so to avoid that, I had to finish them (children) off.
“So, I decided to cut their throats with a knife.”
She continued, “I did this because I did not want my children to suffer and grow up miserable in my absence as I did when I was growing up.”
Marizanhi told court her own parents separated when she was still very young.
She further told court she never had a permanent home and the thought of her children going through the same experience pushed her to do the unthinkable.
Life became easier when she met her husband Lameck Brande and the two were happy in their earlier days of marriage, she said.
The couple started from humble beginnings and worked very hard together to uplift its lifestyle.
At the time she committed the offence, the couple had acquired immovable and movable properties including a flourishing business.
She told court that her husband became abusive and a womaniser at the same time and always caused her some stress.
“We started from scratch. We had nothing when we got married but we were happy.
“The problems started when we started amassing wealth. My husband became abusive and was involved in extra marital affairs with several women,” she told court during trial.
She then made the decision to end her own life at a time she was expecting her fifth child.
Marizanhi however did not die from an attempted suicide after she was rushed to hospital for treatment.
A State witness, Dr Patrick dismissed claims that Marazanhi was unstable when she killed her children as supported by his medical affidavit.