1 May 2012

Gwaze's wife tells of finding girl unresponsive in bed

11:17 pm on 1 May 2012

The wife of a Christchurch man accused of murdering his niece has told a court how she found the girl helpless and unresponsive in bed with apparent breathing problems.

George Gwaze, 60, is on trial in the Christchurch High Court for the sexual violation and murder of Charlene Makaza in January 2007.

The Crown argues the 10-year-old suffered a forceful sexual attack by her uncle. The defence says the girl died from an overwhelming infection caused by HIV.

Detective Craig Clare.

Detective Craig Clare. Photo: POOL / THE PRESS

On Tuesday, Sifiso Gwaze told the court she woke early on 6 January 2007 and heard loud sounds from Miss Makaza's bedroom that suggested she had breathing problems.

Mrs Gwaze said she rushed into the room and found the 10-year-old unresponsive and soiled with diarrhoea. She then shouted for her husband to come, saying the girl was not well.

The court was told Mrs Gwaze changed Miss Mazaka's clothes and that the girl was helpless and unable to assist.

Mrs Gwaze said her husband urged her to quickly get medical help for the child and the couple drove her to a 24-hour surgery. The girl was later transferred to hospital where she died on 7 January.

Mrs Gwaze said her niece was often unwell and stayed home from school with a temperature or cough and took antibiotics that were prescribed before the family emigrated from Zimbabwe.

However, Mrs Gwaze told the court that she was not aware the girl had HIV until she was tested at the hospital.

Earlier on Tuesday a police officer gave evidence, saying he found no signs of forced entry at George Gwaze's home.

The Crown has said that Miss Makaza was found unresponsive and with severe anal and vaginal injuries in her bed at the Gwaze home and died later in hospital.

Detective Craig Clare told court on Tuesday he had examined the Gwaze home after the girl's death. All locks and latches were in good working order with no indication of damage or forced entry.

The Crown has said that Miss Makaza suffered a forceful sexual attack by her uncle, and that it is accepted there was no intruder in the house which points to Mr Gwaze having murdered his niece.