TWO men murdered a 90-year-old farmer who had offered them a lift by crushing his head with a big rock before dumping his body in a bushy area along the Chinhoyi-Baguta Road.
The assailants made off with Mr Gardner Bertram’s Ford Ranger truck, a wallet with $200 and clothes.
One of the assailants has since been arrested after detectives from Chinhoyi CID found a man he intended to sell the vehicle to at Chinhoyi Bus Terminus.
The prospective buyer was parked in front of a bottle store and indicated to the police that he wanted to buy the vehicle and was test driving it. Upon questioning, he led police to Kudakwashe Nduma (22), who was at his girlfriend’s place in Cold Stream suburb.
Nduma, who was found wearing Bertram’s khaki shorts with his wallet inside, then led the police to the scene where he and his accomplice crashed his head with a boulder.
Mashonaland West police spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara confirmed the murder, adding that investigations were still underway.
“We are investigating a case of murder in which a 90-year-old man’s head was crashed with at large stone before the assailants made off with his vehicle,” he said.
Investigations so far show that Bertram left for his East Range Farm outside Chinhoyi town on Monday last week at around 7am.
He reportedly left the farm at around 10am and Nduma, who was accompanied by a man only known only as Nhema, asked him for a lift.
They drove towards Chinhoyi and a few kilometres before town, one of the assailants, who was occupying the front seat, indicated to Bertram that the vehicle was making strange noises associated with a mechanical fault.
Bertram stopped the vehicle and they pretended to look underneath before they dragged him out of the driver’s seat. They force-marched him into a bushy area about 30 metres from the road, where they picked up a boulder which they used to crash his head. After leaving, Nduma and his accomplice searched him and took his wallet and clothes before driving off.
A report of a missing person was made at Chinhoyi Police Station by Bertram’s security guard after he did not return and all police units were put on high alert.
Nduma’s luck ran out when the person he intended to sell Bertram’s vehicle was intercepted by the police during a test drive.
Insp Mabgweazara said Nduma is expected to appear in court soon, facing murder charges before calling on the public to assist in locating the other suspect.
“We have no particulars of the other assailant except that he is known as Nhema. We appeal to anyone with information on the whereabouts of the outstanding suspect to approach their nearest police station,” he said.
Meanwhile, a Chinhoyi man was stabbed to death with a knife following an altercation at a beerhall.
Ephraim Jani (30) was stabbed to death by Elias Bitress (59), whom he left with from Jengera Speed Bar at Omagoro Farm in Makonde after an earlier altercation over cattle.
When they left together, people thought that they had settled their misunderstanding amicably.
However, Bitress returned a few minutes later telling their now deceased uncle Givemore Marambambuva to follow him and see how he had settled his dispute with Jani.
Jani was accusing Bitress of deliberately injuring people’s cattle in the area.
Marambambuva noticed some blood on Bitress hands and alerted others at the bottle store including a headman in the area, who went to the scene. They found Jani lying in a pool of blood with a stab wound on his collar bone. Police recovered the handle of a pocket knife a few metres from the body, while the blade was a further distance away.
Insp Mabgweazara called on people to involve others to resolve differences and to avoid confrontation on sensitive issues when drunk.