Mother who poisoned son escapes jail term

HARARE - A 25-year-old Harare woman who attempted to kill her four-year-old son by forcing him to drink an unidentified toxic substance following a dispute with her ex-husband has escaped jail.

Mitchel Nyamhunga of Harare’s Warren Park suburb appeared before a Harare magistrate on
attempted infanticide charges.

Magistrate Tendai Mahwe sentenced Nyamhunga to 24 months in prison before suspending 14 months on condition of good behaviour for the next five years.

The remaining 10 months were suspended on condition that Nyamhunga performs 350 hours of community service at Warren Park Clinic.

Nyamhunga, who according to state papers also drank the poisonous substance, told the court the liquid which was contained in a bottle was obtained by the child accidentally.

She denied attempting to kill her son in the manner outlined by the state.

The informant is Blessing Tafadzwa Hlaranini, Nyamhunga’s former husband.

The court heard Nyamhunga together with her four-year-old son went to Hlaranini’s house last week Monday at around 6pm.

Upon entering the house, the court heard Nyamhunga placed the baby on the bed, while Hlaranini got into his blankets and slept. Nyamhunga told him that she was going to kill herself.

She drank the toxic substance, but Hlaranini ignored her. Nyamhunga also informed Hlaranini that she was going to give the child the poisonous substance.

Prosecutor Memory Mukapa managed to prove that Nyamhunga placed the bottle on the baby’s mouth, forcing him to drink some of the toxic substance.

The court heard Hlaranini woke up, wrestled with Nyamhunga, leading to some of the liquid spilling on the child’s face.

According to state papers, the baby was rushed to Suburban Medical Centre and was transferred to South Med in Chitungwiza for further treatment.

A medical report compiled by a doctor showed that the baby drank some of the toxic substance and managed to survive after getting treatment.

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