A 32-YEAR-OLD man from Gwanda District has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for raping his 11-year-old stepdaughter.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the victim, yesterday pleaded guilty to the charge before Gwanda regional magistrate Mr Joseph Mabeza. On 14 January this year at about 9pm, the man arrived home drunk and found his wife already asleep with the complainant with whom they shared the bedroom.

He had a domestic dispute with his wife and threatened to assault her, which resulted in his wife leaving the house to seek refuge from nearby relatives. He also left the house and went to his aunt’s place where he rested for a while. When he returned home at about midnight looking for his wife, he found that she had not returned and failed to locate her. He then started harassing the complainant and her younger sister, who were sleeping in the bedroom asking them about the whereabouts of their mother. He then took advantage of the absence of his wife and ordered the stepdaughter to sleep on his bed, ordered her to undress and lie on the bed. She complied and he xually abused her before threatening to axe her if she everrevealed what had happened to anyone.

After raping his stepdaughter, he slept in thesame blankets with her. The matter came to light when his wife returned home at around 2am the following day and found him sleeping in the same blanket with his stepdaughter. On being questioned, the girl revealed that the stepfather had xually abused her and the matter was reported to the police leading to the man’s arrest.