PASTOR Madalisto Ranchi, who killed his wife in Beatrice in 2015 before fleeing to Malawi, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison at the High Court.

Ranchi, who appeared for sentence before Justice Amy Tsanga early this month, had pleaded not guilty of killing Pamela Muzondo, saying he lost control and assaulted her after he found his wife with a lover, Stanford Bonde.

However, Living Word Cidatel pastor’s claim was dismissed as false by the judge.

“For whatever reason the accused assaulted the deceased, it was certainly not because he was provoked by Stanford, because there was no Stanford Bonde at his residence on the 24th of July as he alleged nor on the 25th of July when his wife was last seen alive by her children,” the judge ruled.

After killing his wife, Ranchi shoved her body in a bucket and placed it under the bed and fled to Malawi the next morning. After a few days, Ranchi returned to Zimbabwe and was arrested at the Nyamapanda Border post.

The judge said after murdering his wife, Ranchi had put in motion his own version of “how to get away with murder” by crafting a series of lies.

“He has clearly continued to imagine in his head that if he continues to regurgitate falsehoods they might just become believable. His explanation that he returned to turn himself in was obviously false as he headed nowhere near a police station when he arrived,” said Justice Tsanga.

She said it was hard to believe why Muzondo would be unfaithful to Ranchi after he crafted in court a rosy picture of his marriage.

“It was hard to see why she would have been unfaithful to him if life was as rosy as he depicted. The state evidence having shown conclusively that there was no act of infidelity that the accused stumbled upon as he claimed, this court is only left to join the pieces in order to understand what may have been the trigger for the violence,” said Justice Tsanga.

She said she a jealous demon in Ranchi had got the better of him on the day he murdered his wife.

“At most, it would appear that the accused may have had his own suspicions in his head about his wife’s fidelity since by his own admission he frequently travelled to Malawi.

But suspicion alone can never be the basis of using provocation as a defence for fatally killing one’s spouse. The accused was guilty of reckless murder,” the judge ruled.

“The appropriate sentence in this case which fits the offence and the offender is 20 years.”