A former SAS trooper who was involved in a dispute over a gold mine in Zimbabwe killed himself, an inquest has ruled.
Bulawayo magistrate Enias Magate ruled on Monday, Robert Wood committed suicide ending a
month-long inquest into his mysterious death more than two years ago.
Ian Wood, the brother of the late Robert had claimed foul play in his death and suspected the murder of the ex-soldier by his lover Gugulethu Henrietta Dube.
The ruling by the magistrate effectively quashed those allegations from Ian Wood.
The ex-soldier, 54, was found hanging between March 9 and 10 in 2012 in the spare bedroom of a
rented Four Winds home in Bulawayo which he shared with Dube.
“There was no evidence linking Dube or any other person to the death of Robert Wood.
“There was no evidence to support Ian Wood’s assertion that his brother was killed by Dube,” said the magistrate.
“What Ian said were bold assertions emanating from hearsay evidence which he heard from some people who were not even called as witnesses in the inquest hearing.”
Magate said most of the witnesses who testified did not enlighten or assist the court as to how Wood died.
The witnesses include Dube, her grandmother Esnath Moyo, the couple’s friends Mandlenkosi Nkala and Nkosilathi Dube, gardener Blessing Sibanda and the investigating police officer Constable Willard Kuimba.
The allegations put forward by Ian were that Dube killed the former soldier, who was married with a family in the United Kingdom, so she could take over the lucrative gold mine Wood operated just outside Bulawayo.
The family had mainly based their claims on a will Dube was alleged to have forged to gain total control of the business. However, magistrate Magate ruled that no foul play was suspected in Wood’s death.
The court said the only evidence which was available to determine how Wood died was the independent expert opinion of Dr Sanganayi Pesanayi, who concluded that it was suicide.
“Dr Pesanayi told the court that Wood’s face and lower limb were blue, which is a
sign of asphyxia or lack of oxygen.
Furthermore, he also took the specimen for histology to a pathologist and came back showing that the lungs showed marked congestion”, said Magate.
“He also testified that the ruptured veins on Wood’s scrotum could have ruptured during hanging.
Dr Pesanayi during his testimony told the court that the belt around Wood’s neck was very tight and it was normal for blood spatter on the private parts to occur as a result of the bursting of veins.
Magate also said the court did not read anything on the alleged will as its authenticity was not subjected to legal determination by a competent court.
“Accordingly, Ian Wood’s allegations amounted to bold assertions,” the magistrate said.