A ZIMBABWE National Army (ZNA) member allegedly poisoned his 10-month-old baby to avoid paying maintenance for the child’s upkeep.

Misheck Utedzi (26), who resides in Kuwadzana, Harare, was arrested on February 3 on a murder charge and has since approached the High Court seeking bail pending trial.

Allegations against the soldier are that on December 28 last year, he was with his girlfriend, the now deceased’s mother, together with their baby, Shantel, at the corner of Jason Moyo Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way when the incident occurred.

It is alleged, Utedzi put poison into a tub of yoghurt, which he later fed the baby. The child was rushed to hospital and died the same day after succumbing to the poison.

According to the evidence gathered by the police, Utedzi was the only person who had the custody of the minor before she fell ill and there were witnesses who saw him fleeing from the scene, as the toddler’s condition deteriorated.

The police further said a post-mortem conducted at the hospital revealed the child had died of poisoning.

However, in his bail application, Utedzi denied causing the death of his daughter, saying he could not have killed his own child, as he was a responsible father.

He said on the day in question, Shantel’s mother visited him at his workplace. After work he decided to accompany her to town and while at Joina City, he asked the baby’s mother to buy the child some yoghurt, which she did and he proceeded to feed her.

About 30 minutes after the child had consumed the yoghurt, Utedzi said, the infant started feeling sick and was rushed to hospital, where she later died. Utedzi also dismissed as false the assertion that he killed his daughter to avoid paying maintenance, saying there was no such order against him.