A 45-year-old man from Uganda’s Kigezi Sub-region was given a 40-year prison term for killing his wife and three kids in a house fire.
Vianney Armstrong Ahimbisibwe was sentenced by Kabale High Court Judge Samuel Emokor on February 22, 2023, after he admitted committing the crime in Habutobere Village, Muko Sub-county, Rubanda District.
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As a result of the fire, the man killed his wife Rovinah Muheki, 43, his sons Edwin Tumworobire and Westlife Akampumuriza, both 17, and his 5-year-old daughter Maria Akwire Akinamushabire.
He had divorced his wife after a disagreement, and he was living in a different house at the time of the crime.
Although Ahimbisibwe did not waste the court’s time, Justice Emokor stated in his decision that he should still be punished harshly for the heinous crime of brutally killing members of his close family.
“While the convict asked for a lenient punishment, appeared remorseful and regrets his actions, the court contends that the offences he committed were grave and calls for a death sentence once proved guilty,” the judge ruled.
“Putting into consideration the submission of the state prosecution calling for a deterrence sentence by punishing the convict basing on the number of people he murdered, the fact that he did not take lives of foreigners but his immediate family members to achieve his pre-determined evil motives, he is hereby sentenced 40 years for each count of murder,” Justice Emokor added.
The judge explained that the one year and eight months Ahimbisibwe had spent on remand would be deducted from the 40-year sentence, making the total time he must spend as 38 years and four months.
In addition, he was given a two-year prison term for abusing his sole son, who had survived the fire, and causing actual bodily harm. However, the judge made it clear that all of the sentences will run consecutively, therefore the defendant will serve 38 years and 4 months.
“The sentence shall run concurrently starting from the day of issuing this judgement and the convict has the right to appeal against this ruling within 14 days in case he is not happy with it,” Justice Emokor said.
According to the prosecution, Ahimbisibwe visited the deceased wife’s shop or bar at Hisesero Trade Centre in Muko Sub-county, Rubanda District, approximately 8 p.m. on June 12, 2021, and discovered her there with their children.
He then began physically abusing one of his sons, Bob Mathius Muheki, a survivor, and demanded to know why he had not completed ferrying sand to his construction site. Nevertheless, other locals stepped in and saved the youngster from his father.
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A neighbour later warned the wife and kids to take precautions after he saw the irate husband hiding in an unfinished structure next to their house. This was after the woman and kids returned home
Later, at around 10 o’clock, the neighbours heard screaming coming from within the house and discovered it was on fire. The fire claimed the lives of every inhabitant. Further research revealed that earlier that evening, Ahimbisibwe had been spotted at a neighbouring gas station carrying a jerrycan.
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