A jailbird from Bulawayo’s Matshobana suburb who fatally stabbed his uncle with a kitchen knife, has been sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Desmond Phiri (23) stabbed his uncle Jonathan Phiri (39) for intervening in a dispute he had with his 70-year-old grandfather Mr Manonoka Mponda over a protection order in December 2018.

Phiri who once served in prison for pick-pocketing and robbery, was convicted of murder with constructive intent by Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Thompson Mabhikwa.

In passing the sentence, Justice Mabhikwa condemned Phiri’s conduct, saying he deserved a lengthy prison term.

“You are an unrepentant criminal who displayed a deplorable conduct when you fatally stabbed an innocent man.

“People like you should be removed from society for lengthy periods and accordingly, you are sentenced to an effective 20 years in jail,” ruled the judge.

Prosecuting, Mr Kudakwashe Jaravaza said on December 24, 2018 at around 7.40pm, the accused person went to his grandfather’s house in Matshobana.

Jonathan who stayed in Entumbane with his family, visited his father, Mr Mponda in Matshobana and found the accused person, who was drunk and holding a beer bottle, at the house.

The court heard that the deceased confronted the accused person demanding to know why he had violated a court order.

The dispute nearly degenerated into a fight but they were restrained by Rodwell Mponda, the deceased’s younger brother, who intervened by escorting the accused person out of the yard.

“The accused person left his grandfather’s house and went to a neighbour’s house where he found a 15-year-old boy washing dishes outside and took a kitchen knife, which was among the dishes,” said Mr Jaravaza.

Phiri went back to his grandfather’s house armed with a knife. He waylaid the deceased at the gate and allegedly stabbed him in the right shoulder.

The deceased collapsed a few metres away from the gate and died.

According to the postmortem, the cause of death was hypovolemic shock, carotid artery lesion and right lung injury.

Soon after committing the offence, Phiri fled the scene and he was arrested the following day after police found him hiding in a disused National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) wagon.

In his defence through his lawyer, Ms Belinda Khupe of Mutatu, Masamvu and Gustavo Law Chambers, Phiri said it was not his intention to kill his uncle.