FOUR siblings from Gweru aged between 4 and 11 years bravely fought off a 37 year old man who wanted to rape their eight-year-old sister, by pelting him with stones, a court heard.

The siblings, who are all in primary school fought hard to save their sister who had been targeted by the alleged rapist as they made their way to a grinding mill.

Varirima Shonhai of Zaloba Plots in the Midlands capital, appeared before Gweru Magistrate Ms Mildred Matuvi facing one count of attempted rape.

He pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody to February 28.

The magistrate also ordered that Shonhai undergoes mental evaluation by Government psychiatrists as he showed signs of having a mental disorder in the court.

It is the State’s case that on December 20 last year the complainant (name withheld to protect her identity) and her four siblings were on their way to the grinding mill.

The complainant was carrying a bag of maize on her head.

The court heard that the siblings used a road that passed through the accused’s residence. He allegedly started following the siblings.

The children, the court heard, ran away from Shonhai but had to stop after the complainant dropped the sack containing the maize.

The children started picking up the maize from the ground and putting it back in the sack.

The court heard that Shonhai initially helped the siblings pick up the maize from the ground before he allegedly tried to grab the complainant who managed to run away into the nearby bush.

The court heard that Shonhai caught up with the complainant and tripped her to the ground.

As he was about to rape her, the complainant’s siblings picked up stones and pelted Shonhai who released the complainant and fled from the scene.

The children ran away leaving the complainant’s skirt and sack of maize on the spot.

Upon arrival at their home, the children told their parents of the incident who then reported the matter to the police leading to the arrest of Shonhai.

The skirt and sack of maize was recovered from the scene.

Mr Bernard Nyoni appeared for the State.chronicle