Man Sentenced to 10 Years for Burning Down Houses Over Bar Joke

By Staff Reporter

A 46-year-old Gweru man, Joseph McCarthy, has been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by the Gweru Magistrates’ Court for assault and malicious damage to property. McCarthy was found guilty of burning down two houses following a bar joke that he did not take well.

The incident, which occurred on April 17th, stemmed from a joke made by Rodreck Munyanyiwa, the brother of the complainant, at Woodlands Shops in Gweru.

According to reports, McCarthy and Munyanyiwa were drinking together when the joke was made. However, McCarthy did not find the joke amusing and left to look for Munyanyiwa’s brother.

Unable to locate Rodreck Munyanyiwa, McCarthy reportedly attacked Munyaradzi Munyanyiwa, the complainant, who suffered an eye injury but managed to escape, leaving McCarthy in his room. In a fit of rage, McCarthy set fire to Munyaradzi Munyanyiwa’s blanket, which quickly spread and engulfed the entire house.

Tragically, the fire also spread to the adjacent 13-room house belonging to Rebecca Nyathi, completely destroying it.

McCarthy fled the scene but was later apprehended after confessing to a security guard at Woodlands Phase 1 Shops about his actions. He was subsequently handed over to the police by Munyaradzi Munyanyiwa and his neighbors.

The total value of the damaged property is estimated to be USD 22,415.

During sentencing, McCarthy was handed a 10-year jail term, with 3 years suspended. An additional 4 years were suspended on the condition that he pays restitution of USD 21,000 to Rebecca Nyathi, whose house was destroyed, and USD 755 to Munyaradzi Munyanyiwa. He will effectively serve 2 years in prison.

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