Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A serial rapist and armed robber, who raped 13 women in Harare and robbed them of their valuables was sentenced to 230 years in Jail

Thomas Brighton Chirembwe
A serial rapist and armed robber, who raped 13 women in Harare and robbed them of their valuables, will die in prison after a Harare magistrate ruled that he deserved to be removed from society and slapped him with an effective 230-year jail term.Thomas Brighton Chirembwe (30) raped the women without protection in Cranborne, Queensdale and Hatfield.
Only two of his victims deflected his assault, one by praying and the other by lying that she was HIV positive. Regional magistrate Mr Simon Rogers Kachambwa gave Chirembwe a 290-year prison term before slashing 60 years on condition of good behaviour.
On hearing the sentence, Chirembwe remained calm, but his relatives wept uncontrollably outside the courtroom. The sentence, which ranks among the longest in the history of the country, was received with elation by victims who had come to hear the verdict.
Mr Kachambwa described Chirembwe’s actions as worse than those of a wild animal.
He said a wild animal shows respect to its victims for it does not kill unless it has to and it only kills for food, but Chirembwe as a married man did not rape out of need but for the sake of it.
“In aggravation, the offences the accused committed are all serious, namely unlawful entry in aggravated circumstances and used weapons such as a knife, iron bar and spanners to threaten the victims.
“In his criminal acts, he also raped the women and stole their cash and valuables hence there is no doubt that he had turned crime into a profession earning him a living. I agree with the State that rape is the worst form of invasion of privacy and robbery is a very traumatic experience.
“A long custodial sentence which will remove the accused from the society, is the most appropriate one,” he said.
In mitigation, Chirembwe, who was not represented, had pleaded for the court’s leniency and asked for a short jail term.
He said, “Your worship, I am a married man with three minor children and the youngest is four years old. I would like a sentence which will allow me to come back and look after my family.”
Mr Kachambwa asked him how many years he thought were appropriate to meet the justice of the offences and Chirembwe said he did not know for it was up to the court.
In aggravation, prosecutor Mr Michael Reza said Chirembwe deserved more than 90 years behind bars. He gave reference to a previous case in which an armed robber and rapist Mulamuleli Mpofu was convicted of 19 counts of rape and armed robbery and was sentenced to 90 years behind bars.
Mr Reza told the court that Chirembwe deserved more than 90 years considering that he was convicted of 21 counts.
“From September 18, 2011 to November 6, 2012, the accused was a one-man urban terrorist unlawfully entering people’s houses robbing them and raping the women.
“He moved around with appropriate tools of trade that is an iron bar, knife, spanners and his manhood in his trousers. The crimes were pre-planned,” he said.
After hearing submissions from both parties, Mr Kachambwa concurred with the State and effected 230 years. Chirembwe was facing 30 counts. He was not tried on nine counts after witnesses failed to show up. He ended up facing 21 counts and after hearing the evidence Mr Kachambwa convicted him on all counts.
On each rape charge, Chirembwe was sentenced to 20 years behind bars and 10 years on each count of unlawful entry and armed robbery.
Source: Herald

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