A Zimbabwean woman has been arrested after she being accused of strangling her 6-year-old stepson to death and trying to set her 8-year-old stepdaughter on fire so that she could inherit her husband’s house.
The 24-year-old suspect identified as Alice Chikono, allegedly killed Dean Dube with her bare hands on Easter Friday and hid his body in the house.
She then allegedly locked his sister in the bedroom after switching on a stove and covering it with a blanket, apparently hoping the blanket would catch fire and set the room on fire.
Chikono allegedly fled to Harare after making a false report to the police claiming the boy was missing. However, there was a power cut soon after she left the house thereby putting her plans off rail.
It was gathered that the suspect had allegedly been planning to kill the children for more than one year.
She was arrested in Harare on Saturday, April 3, where she had fled to and she was arraigned before Kwekwe magistrate Mrs Florence Nago facing a murder charge. Nago did not ask her to plead and remanded her in custody to 17 April.
According to court papers, Chikono strangled the boy to death “so that she would inherit the house belonging to his father, Mr Tonywell Dube,49, since he was the only son.”
Speaking to The Chronicle, the visibly shaken father gave a horrendous account of how his son was murdered.
“I was away at work when I was called that the boy was missing so I was constantly checking whether he had been found. I was only called by relatives and advised to rush home but they did not tell me what had happened. When I arrived, that is when I was told about the incident. It broke my heart and I am still in pain,” said Mr Dube fighting back tears.
After Chikono’s arrest in the capital, Mr Dube managed to talk to her on what led her to commit the crime.
“She told me that the plan had been in the pipeline for over a year. Her aunt (name withheld) who is based in Gokwe, was the one who was nagging her to kill Dean since he was the only son and if I die, it was going to be hard for her to inherit my house,” said Mr Dube.
She told me that she throttled the boy with her hands until he died while outside the house. She dragged the body inside the house before locking the elder sister who is about eight years old in the other room before attempting to burn down the house,” said Dube.
A neighbour, on condition of anonymity, said a power cut saved the life of the girl, whose name was not given.
“The girl is very lucky to be alive because Chikono switched on the stove and put a blanket on the stove so that it catches fire which was supposed to then spread to the rest of the room. She then fled to Harare. But soon after she did that, there was a power outage. That is what saved the girl,” said the neighbour.
He said after Chikono made a false police report that the boy was missing, the community organised a search party as they were unaware that he was already dead.
“We became suspicious when we found the doors locked as we came to check on progress. That is when we forcibly broke the door and entered inside only to find a lifeless body and the girl crying in the bedroom which was also locked. That is how we found out that she had killed the boy,” said the neighbour.
The boy’s body has since been ferried to Bulawayo where it awaits post-moterm.