Man goes berserk, kills father, two villagers; court declares insanity

By Mary Taruvinga

CHINHOYI High Court judge, Justice Philda Muzofa recently committed a Kadoma man to Chikurubi Psychiatric Unit ruling that he was mentally unstable when he killed his father and other two villagers including a minor in a fit of rage in 2021.

Evan Chikoore was convicted after a full trial during which his mother denied he was mentally ill although it was common cause that her son had been unstable from his childhood.

The judge said courts should be seen to be protecting such people because they are usually stigmatised and rejected.

“When they commit offences their woes multiply. Their lives become a sad tale that slowly pales into the dark soon to be forgotten,” said the judge.

It emerged that Chikoore was known as a mental patient in the community he lived in.

On the 9th of July 2021, he unleashed a series of murders in separate incidents

Had he not been restrained, more fatalities could have resulted.

After committing the offence, he was arrested and the magistrate ordered that he be examined by two doctors in terms of s26 of the Mental Health Act.

He was found mentally unfit.

The background was that Chikoore was not well since 2004 and his deceased father would accompany him for medical treatment.

He would experience visual and auditory hallucinations and later defaulted treatment.

His father took him for treatment at some church where a prophet assisted him. At this stage, he had stopped taking his prescribed medication.

The court heard his illness progressed and he became acutely psychotic.

Muzofa noted it was not his fault because if had remained on treatment these unnecessary deaths could have been averted.

“It is therefore important that those responsible for people suffering from mental illnesses must make sure the patients adhere to their treatment regimes,” she said.

Chikoore resided at village one Luwana, Kadoma with his wife.

On the 21st of July 2021 he decided to visit his deceased father’s homestead in the same village.

When he arrived at his father’s homestead, he demanded money to buy beer but his father had no money which infuriated him.

He picked a stone and struck his father several times on the head before he set four grass-thatched huts on fire.

Upon realising that his father was not yet dead he attacked him several times with an axe until he died.

He proceeded to the next homestead, where the now-deceased Tears Matara resided.

On arrival, the accused asked where Matara’s husband was as he wanted his money from him.

He was told he was in Bulawayo but he demanded money from Matara before he was given ZW$30.

He felt the offer was an insult and struck the Matara with the axe several times on the head and set ablaze a hut and a car parked at the homestead.

Chikore proceeded to the next homestead where he arrived with the blood-stained axe.

At this homestead, the deceased, a child saw the accused approaching.

He demanded to see the deceased’s father who once caused his arrest.

When the child’s father saw Chikoore he sensed danger and ran away with his wife leaving their child behind.

The boy was then struck with an axe by Chikoore on his forehead and died on the spot.

Chikoore was subsequently apprehended when he was proceeding to the next homestead.

After his arrest and treatment, the state proceeded to prosecute him upon receipt of recommendations from Chikurubi Psychiatric Unit that he had recovered.

The doctor who testified said Chikoore was mentally challenged when he committed the offence.

In his warned and cautioned statement, Chikoore said he was not aware that he had killed two villagers.

In respect of his father he said he saw a short man at his house holding a spear.

“After considering the documentary evidence and the statement of agreed facts the court was satisfied that the accused was incapable of formulating an intention to commit the offences due to his mental condition.

“A special verdict has to be entered. Therefore, in line with the provisions of s 29 (2) of the Mental Health the following verdict is entered.

“Not guilty because of insanity.”

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