Thursday, 26 February 2015

Violent thug dubbed the ‘Underwear Robber’ jailed for 25 years

BULAWAYO – A violent thug dubbed the ‘Underwear Robber’ for stealing his victims’ clothes and forcing them to walk naked is beginning a 25-year jail stretch today.

Birthwell Sibanda, 22, of Pumula South in Bulawayo, will be tried separately on four counts of murder.

He had also been charged with three counts of rape, but these were dropped after the magistrate ruled that the evidence against him was weak.

Appearing before a Bulawayo magistrate yesterday, Sibanda pleaded guilty to 10 counts of armed robbery and was jailed for 35 years, 10 of which were suspended conditionally.
Violent thug dubbed the ‘Underwear Robber’ jailed for 25 years
Senior regional magistrate Trynos Utahwashe told Sibanda: “You’re a youthful first offender who didn’t waste the courts time and you should be rewarded for that.

“You’re sentenced to a total of 35 years imprisonment of which 10 years will be suspended for five years on condition of good behaviour.”

He said Sibanda humiliated his victims in committing the crimes with two accomplices who are still at large. Most victims, the court heard, were robbed of their clothing, including underwear, and then made to walk away stark naked.

Testifying, one of the victims, a woman, told the court that Sibanda with two other men gang-raped her on March 27.

She said Sibanda and his accomplices ambushed a taxi that she had hired with her friends at about 2AM in Old Pumula.

The court heard Sibanda’s vehicle blocked the taxi as the woman and her friends were disembarking.

“Three men came out armed with knives, one stuck a knife to my neck and the other stuck a knife onto the driver’s neck. They asked us to surrender our belongings threatening to kill us,” she said.

“I tried to run away but one of them caught me and dragged me into the car. They later took turns in raping me from behind and it was only Sibanda who raped me with a condom.

“They then talked about pouring petrol on my body and setting me alight. I begged them to let me go and they decided not to kill me.”

Prosecuting Robin Mukura told the court that on March 20 last year, Sibanda also pounced on Obert Mabaya who was in the company of his girlfriend.

The couple was in their Nissan Sunny car which was parked at a secluded spot in the Hyde Park area of Pumula.

The court heard Sibanda pulled out a knife and threatened to kill them.

He took a Nokia 5230 cellphone, $20, a black wallet belonging to Mabaya and $3 from his girlfriend,

Using the same method, Sibanda robbed Eliah Zvimba and took away a Compaq laptop, charger, satchel, I-pad, LG and Samsung cellphones as well as $35 at knifepoint.

On March 26, at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in New Lobengula, Sibanda robbed Zephaniah Mlawuzi of his Mazda Demio vehicle, two cellphones and $60 at knifepoint. He thereafter ordered Mlawuzi to undress and told him to walk away naked.
Birthwell Sibanda
On March 27, Sibanda stole from three different people. He took away five cellphones, a laptop, R600, $15 and car keys from Raymond Shonhiwa, Ngonidzashe Kangani and a woman he allegedly raped before robbing her.

He allegedly raped the woman in a bushy area between Old Pumula and Robert Sinyoka.

On April 24, Sibanda met Movias Ngwenya who was driving a Nissan Caravan vehicle. He robbed him of the vehicle, two Samsung cellphones, $22 and R30, his shorts and underwear. He told him to go home naked.

Ngwenya made a report at Luveve Police Station and the vehicle was later recovered. On the same day, Sibanda robbed Leviticus Jambawa of his Honda Ballade motor vehicle, a G-Tel cellphone, and $30 and took his clothes leaving him naked in Njube.

Sibanda denied raping his victims, and was acquitted owing to weak evidence.

Sibanda and two accomplices, Webster Ndlovu, 26, of Mabusela Flats and Thabani Lunga, 27, of Mpopoma will stand trial for allegedly killing two lovers and dumping their bodies in a trench in Nkulumane last year.

Sibanda, a single father of two, reportedly connived with his two friends, killing then robbing Mthabisi Dube before taking turns to rape his girlfriend Lokukhanya Ncube in April last year.

The couple’s bodies were found in an advanced state of decomposition in a grass-filled trench at the corner of Intemba and Rangemore Roads in Nkulumane 12. The Chronicle
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