IN an incident that left residents of Bulawayo’s Sauerstown suburb shocked, a man believed to be in his 70s allegedly killed his daughter-in-law during a fight over sugar. The amount of sugar involved could not be readily established.
Police confirmed the incident, which occurred along Palm Street on Tuesday afternoon.
The man, Jay McKop, has since been arrested. His daughter-in-law’s name and age was not readily available yesterday.
The two were staying in the same house with the dead woman’s husband, Mr Randy McKop, and their minor children.
Sources said the woman entered her father-in-law’s room where she took some sugar without his knowledge.
A war of words reportedly ensued between the two, with McKop demanding his sugar back. This reportedly resulted in a physical fight as the now deceased took back the sugar.
Indications are that McKop allegedly pushed her against the wall and she fell and died a few moments later.
When Chronicle visited the suburb yesterday morning, a handful of neighbours had gathered at the house to console the family.
Members of the McKop family referred questions to the police, saying they were not prepared to talk about the issue.
Neighbours who opened up on condition that they remained anonymous, said the old man and his daughter-in-law did not get along.
Some said the woman and her husband were also having marital problems, which resulted in him sleeping in the cottage while she would put up in the main house.
A neighbour only identified as Mr Kunonga said they were still in shock and would rather not talk about the matter. “This is sad. You should have come yesterday and witnessed everything for yourself. Right now no neighbour can tell you anything because this matter is too sensitive. We have been neighbours with McKop for 30 years and we had never known him to be a problematic person neither did we have such cases in the suburb. We could not believe it when we heard that McKop’s daughter-in-law had died and he had killed her,” he said.
Another neighbour said there were times when McKop and his daughter-in-law would engage in a fight at the family house. “McKop was a good man who everybody regarded as a loving person. He loved his grandchildren who included the late woman’s children. We are still in shock and cannot believe that he could do such a thing. The two always fought and we heard that yesterday they were fighting over sugar.
“It is not clear whether the woman entered her father-in-law’s room and took some sugar or she sent her child but we heard that they argued over the issue until McKop tried to take it back. In the process, he held her by the throat trying to choke her. He let go of her and as he walked away, she kicked him from behind and that is when the fight started. It is not clear how he killed her but we heard that he pushed her against the wall and she fell down,” said the neighbour.
Another neighbour said: “Last year, the woman and her father-in-law quarrelled and she smashed his household property. At one point she jumped over the precast wall and was spotted by children trying to cut her baby’s wrist with a blade.
Yesterday we just saw an ambulance parked in front of the gate and as we were still wondering who could be ill, we then heard that McKop had killed his daughter-in-law.”
The woman’s mother could only say: “I am failing to believe what happened. I cannot continue narrating this issue because it is like opening up old wounds.”
Acting provincial police spokesperson for Bulawayo Assistant Inspector Bekimpilo Ndlovu said investigations were still in progress.
“We are handling a case of suspected murder that occurred in Sauerstown on Tuesday. We have picked one person in connection with the case and he is assisting police with investigations,” said Asst Insp Ndlovu.