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Armed robbers jailed 92 years

John Allan Nyoni, Tichaona Dave and Bill Machingura had denied the charges, but were nailed due to overwhelming evidence.

THREE armed robbers who had been terrorising pirate taxis in Beitbridge border town were yesterday slapped with a combined 92-year jail term by regional magistrate Innocent Bepura.

John Allan Nyoni, Tichaona Dave and Bill Machingura had denied the charges, but were nailed due to overwhelming evidence.

Bepura said Beitbridge residents need safety assurances and protection which the courts can only give through long deterrent sentences on the accused persons.

Dave and Tirihama will serve a 40-year jail term each for the five counts of armed robbery they committed, while Nyoni was sentenced to 12 years in prison for one count.

In his lengthy judgment and subsequent ruling, Bepura said despite the trio being first offenders, they started crime at the deep end and their offences were serious.

“This is a serious offence which calls for stiffer terms. Your short spree on taxi robberies had serious aggravating elements in that you used weapons, knives and guns. You hit your victims and one lost his tooth. You stripped naked another. You tied yet another one and dumped him in the bush and took away his car though it was recovered. You used violence to subdue your victims,” the magistrate said.

The three also clobbered senseless one of their victims after he resisted and fought back.

“Your moral blame-worthiness is high. The aggravating circumstances by far outweigh your mitigation and the prevalence of robberies in Beitbridge is high. The residents live in perpetual fear and it is the duty of the courts to assure their safety by giving deterrent sentences,” Bepura added.

Edgar Gutsa — who was stripped of his car, cash and cellphones on December 7, 2022 — asked the court to jail them for 40 years each.

He, like all the other victims, said he was traumatised, humiliated and incurred huge loss of business. He could no longer drive at night and feared carrying passengers.

Another victim, Muziwakhe Dube, who was attacked on January 9 last year while having sex with his girlfriend in a vehicle, said there was no difference between these men and murderers.

He suggested that they be jailed 15 years each for his pain.

Reginald Tumbare, who permanently lost his Honda Fit vehicle and a tooth after they attacked him, asked the court to jail them for 20 years each for what they did to him.

Both Nyoni and Dave were artisanal miners in Mazowe, who travelled 700km to Beitbridge to commit the offences.

They targeted lonely taxi drivers under the pretext they were hiring their services, only to violently rob them at secluded places in Beitbridge’s Dulibadzimu high-density suburb.

Willbrought Muleya prosecuted.

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