A 27-year-old man of John Howard Compound, who murdered his two-year-old son and buried him in a school premises, has been convicted and sentenced to death by hanging by the Lusaka High Court.

George Phiri was alleged to have on June 26, 2017, administered doom to his two-year-seven-months old son and secretly buried him within the premises of Daso Primary School in John Howard, where he worked as a caretaker.

Phiri told the Court in his defence that one day his wife Eunice Chola went for a drinking spree and when she returned home, the couple engaged in a dispute leading to her disclosing that their two-year-old child was not his.

He said Chola would echo the same statement whenever she was drunk, adding that her parents had also allegedly confirmed that the child was not his.

Phiri had further told the Court that he was disturbed with such statements that the child was not his because he had raised him.

He disclosed that because of the allegations of the child not being his, he one day bought Doom and “Super-Shake,” got the toddler from his mother and proceeded to his home with intentions to end his own life and that of his son as he was broken.

The 27-year-old had further narrated that he laced the “Super-Shake” with Doom insecticide and administered it to his son and also drunk a little, after which they both fell asleep.

Phiri said the next day around 06:00 hours, he noticed that the child had died and he decided to bury him behind a classroom block at the mentioned school.

He admitted that what he did was bad, but added that he could not disclose the incident to his wife Chola, but confessed the same to a pastor of Shepherd Ministries after his wife’s family exerted pressure on him relating to the whereabouts of the child.

But in her judgement dated June 28, High Court Judge Sharon Newa noted that Phiri had malice aforethought when he killed and buried his son within the school premises.

She added that Phiri was in control of his faculties and that he planned to kill the child.

Justice Newa said if the convict wanted to kill himself, he would not have taken the substance in moderation and given much to a younger child.

She found that it was not in dispute that the convict gave the child “Super-Shake,” which he laced with Doom, as it is clear that what motivated him to give the child the poisonous drink was because his wife told him that the child was not his.

“The defence of diminished responsibility fails because the accused has not shown that he was suffering from a condition of arrested or retarded development of mind or any inherent causes, which would have been induced by a disease or injury, which impaired his mental responsibility. The act was calculated by the accused to kill his child as he believed that it was not his,” Justice Newa said.

“I find that the accused had malice aforethought when he believed that the child was not his and he carefully planned and executed the act and covered up by burying his son behind the classroom block.”

She ruled that the State had proven the case beyond reasonable doubt and found Phiri guilty of the offence of murder.

Justice Newa sentenced the convict to death by hanging.