A CHIPINGE couple heaved a sigh of relief on Monday after it escaped a jail term for stealing another villager’s goat worth $100, intending to slaughter the animal and raise money for their child’s school fees.

Zacharia Dhliwayo (25) and his girlfriend Letwine Muyambo (38) were convicted on their own plea of guilty to stocktheft when they appeared before magistrate Joshua Nembaware at Chipinge Magistrates’ Courts.

They were each sentenced to three months in prison, which were wholly suspended on condition that they both complete 210 hours community service at Chimana Secondary School.

In mitigation, the two said they committed the offence to raise school fees for their minor child.

Prosecutor Timothy Katsande told the court that Dhliwayo and Muyambo are a live-in couple, who have a child together.

On February 10, the complainant, Juliet Showanho, was at her Chidhakwa village homestead under Chief Mapungwada, where she penned her goats and went to sleep.

During the night, the couple, which stays in the same village, went to Showanho’s homestead and opened her goat pen and stole a she-goat.

The following morning, the complainant woke up to find her pen opened and the goat missing.

She investigated and discovered footprints and a goat’s spoor behind the goat pen.

The complainant reported the matter to the police and together with Constable Madhuku and two local villagers, they followed the footprints and the goat’s spoor, which took them to the couple’s homestead.

However, when Muyambo saw the quartet arriving at her homestead, she ran away, but they managed to apprehend her.

She then confessed that she and her boyfriend had stolen the goat and had already slaughtered it.

Muyambo and Dhliwayo went into the house and brought out two buckets full of meat, leading to the couple’s arrest.Newsday