LUSAKA High Court Judge Sharon Newa has sentenced a 22-year-old man of Mandevu to death by hanging for killing his 20-year-old girlfriend, whose lifeless body was discovered in her house by her elder sister.

In this matter, Allan Lungu was charged with one count of murder.

Particulars the offence were that on March 2, 2019, Lungu murdered Misozi Soko.

Lungu had denied the charge and during trial, the State called five witnesses.

Lungu also gave his defence on oath but did not call any witnesses.

During trial, Lilian Soko, the sister to the deceased testified that she used to live with Misozi from 2013.

She told the court that in 2019, her younger sister Misozi told her that she wanted to start staying alone and that two days later, the now deceased found a house she wanted to move to.

Lillian said when Misozi was moving to her new place, she gave her a chair, a table, a mat and a curtain.

She testified that she and Misozi used to visit one another most of the time, but added that some time in 2019, Misozi did not go to visit her.

Lilian said as she was going for orders, she went to call the deceased so that she could go and remain with her (Lilian’s) children.

She said when she reached Misozi’s house, she found the door locked so she decided to push it but when she entered, the house was dark inside.

Lilian said she switched on the light and went straight to the bedroom where she found the deceased sleeping on the bed with a mosquito net covering the bed.

She said she called out Misozi’s name but she never responded.

Lilian said she then decided to uncover the bed and when she did so, she saw that Misozi’s body was stiff and her hands were up.

She said further, the deceased was undressed, although she was covered with a chitenge and that her neck looked dark.

The matter was later reported to the police.

Lillian added that when she went back to pack Misozi’s belongings after her death, she noticed that a curtain, mat and door mat which she had given her were missing.

She narrated that on October 2, 2019, she was in the company of her friend Mercy heading to the market.

Lillian said on the way, Mercy wanted to drink some water so they stopped at her sister Aliness’ house.

Aliness who was a friend to the deceased, got married to Lungu (accused) after Misozi’s death.

There, Mercy entered the house while Lilian remained outside, as Aliness stood by the door.

Lilian said she saw the curtain and asked Aliness where she had bought it as she recognised it, however, Aliness said she knew nothing.

She said when she forced her way inside the house to look at the curtain, she also saw the mat and door mat that she had given her deceased sister.

When she queried Aliness about the items, she expressed ignorance and that Lungu could know something about them as he was the deceased’s boyfriend.

The deceased’s neighbour, Gerald Simumba also testified that he saw Lungu who was Misozi’s boyfriend, entering the deceased’s house between 21:00 and 22:00 after the deceased opened for him.

But in his defence, Lungu testified that he bought the curtain and door mat in town on February 15, 2018 but denied having killed the deceased.

He said his relationship with the deceased had ended a long time ago, adding that he did not know where the deceased moved to after she left her elder sister’s house.

But in her judgement delivered on September 30, 2020, Judge Newa said the State had proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.

She said it was an odd coincidence that the items which had been missing in the deceased’s house would be found at Lungu’s house after her death, and Lungu used to be the deceased’s boyfriend.

“The circumstantial evidence in this matter has attained a degree of cogency, permitting an inference of guilt, as the only inference that can be drawn in this matter. The State has therefore proved a case beyond reasonable doubt. I find the accused guilty and convict him accordingly,” judge Newa said.

She sentenced him to death by hanging until pronounced dead by a medical officer.

“May the Lord have mercy on his soul. The convict is further informed of his right of appeal to the Court of Appeal within 30 days from the date of this sentence,” ruled judge Newa.