BULAWAYO – A 44-year-old suspect linked to murder and several armed robbery incidents in Bulawayo died of suspected food poisoning while in police custody hours after his wife had reportedly brought him some food.
In a statement Tuesday, police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi identified the suspect as Gift Sabata, who was linked to the violent crimes which occurred between December last year and November this year.
“On 19th November 2022 at around 1000 hours the suspect died whilst admitted at United Bulawayo Hospital after experiencing some convulsions with froth coming out of the mouth.
“The suspect had consumed food and diabetes medication brought by his wife, Mavis Matupe (27),” Nyathi said.
Sabata’s mysterious death followed his arrest by police detectives assisted by armed members of the paramilitary Support Unit Police Special Tactics at a girlfriend’s home in the early hours of 19 November.
The police raid had been carried out at around 2am at the girlfriend’s home in Cowdray Park after police had taken time to monitor the suspect’s movements.
Nyathi said the suspect was found with a Rossi Revolver loaded with five rounds of ammunition while further investigations led to the recovery of a Taurus Revolver with six rounds and a Peatra-Beretta Gardone Vt.22 without a magazine at Tshabalala Game Sanctuary, Fourwinds, Bulawayo.
“The suspect was linked to two (02) cases or murder and 13 cases of armed robbery in which the total value stolen is US$58 639.00,” Nyathi said.
“The arrest cleared a murder case which occurred on 28th June 2022 at a house along Fortunes Gate, Mashemhlophe, Bulawayo where the suspect and his accomplice identified as Clifford Leniency Nyoni shot dead the complainant with a pistol before stealing US$1000.00 cash.”
Nyathi said the suspect was also linked to a murder case which occurred 2 February this year at Plot K1 Richmond, Bulawayo where a 24-year-man died whilst on admission at a local hospital after being shot on the thigh with a pistol following a misunderstanding over an undisclosed issue.
In addition, said the police spokesperson, the suspect was linked to a robbery case in which US$21 555.00 was stolen on the 28th of May this year at Petra College Selbborne Park, Bulawayo and another case of armed robbery in which US$8 000.00 and ZAR 120 000 was stolen at Plot 5, Rangemore, Bulawayo.