Nyore Madzianike Senior Reporter
IN a spine-chilling incident that left many a people stunned, a self-styled faith healer choked to death a nine-year-old girl by placing fingers into her mouth and rigorously shaking her head, purportedly to exorcise her of demons during a church service.
Judith Mupelefuraha Mulumba of Tongogra Refugee Camp in Chipinge is said to have choked to death Kubota Mupelefuraha Mulumba, who happened to be her sister. She claimed that her sister was possessed with evil spirits.
On the fateful day, Judith is said to have stashed fingers into the girl’s mouth and rigorously shook her head in the name of praying and exorcising demons.
Judith’s actions resulted in Kubota’s death after succumbing to cervical neck dislocation and asphyxiation.
She was arrested and later appeared before Mutare High Court judge justice Hlekani Mwayera facing murder charges.
Judith was, however, freed on a special verdict of not guilty because of insanity.
“At the time of commission of the offence the accused was a mental patient whose mental disorder manifested by being talkative, excessively reading the bible in manner out of character and also being physically aggressive,” said justice Mweyera in her judgment.
Justice Mwayera also said given the mental disorder, which was confirmed by a medical practitioner, Judith could not be said to have requisite intention “to carry out the offence of murder”.
“The accused was subsequently released on bail in March 2014 and was viewed as being fit and of sound mind to stand trial.
“The accused, when she appeared in court before us impressed the court as an individual appreciating the proceedings, then tendered a plea of not guilty to the charge and given the history of mental instability, we acceded to the request by the respective State and defence counsels to retain a special verdict of not guilty because of insanity,” said justice Mwayera.
She also said after her release, Judith was religiously taking her medication and she had since gotten married and has two children.
Justice Mwayera said it clearly meant that she was no longer a danger to the society and herself.
Circumstances leading to Judith’s arrest were that on June 14, 2013 she attended a church service along with her late sister, Kubota. After the service, she then started praying for her late sister in a bid to exorcise demons. It was when she aggressively mounted on the nine-year-old, stashed fingers into her mouth and rigorously shook her head. Other congregants tried to restrain her, but to no avail.
Judith was arrested and taken to court where the State proceeded under Section 29 of the Mental Health Act.
It was agreed that Judith suffered from mental problems during the time she committed the offence.