End of hunt, wife killer cornered (pictures)

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SIMON MUNTEMBA & NOEL IYOMBWA write

@SunZambian

“I WANT him dead also. He must be hanged.” 

These are the bitter words from the father of the Lusaka woman who was hacked, stuffed in plastic chute bags and shoved under a bed.

Agness Chabala Ng’ambi had been dead for almost three months before her alleged killer, her own husband of 11 years, Watson Ng’ambi owned up.

He confessed to his older brother that he had killed her and needed his help to dispose of her body, The Sun has learnt.

Agness Chabala Ng’ambi

In exclusive interviews with family members who included her father, uncle and neighbours, The Sun heard a disturbing story of a violent couple that divorced and secretly reconciled only for the union to end in a tragedy.

Agness’ father could not contain his emotions; he shed tears as he narrated the gruesome murder of his daughter.

He believes his daughter died because her husband did not want to share the family property after they divorced last year in November.

Mr. Chabala is certain that was the reason Watson sweet-talked Agnes into a fake reconciliation.

Watson Ng’ambi

The couple’s neighbours in Kabanana suspect the husband killed his wife on the night he played loud music to drown all other sounds, including her screams.

Some believe he killed her while she lay in a drunken stupor after they returned from a drinking spree.

This is because Watson was no match for the bigger and stronger Agnes when it came to exchange of punches.

“She always out-punched him and when they fought, he would run out crying like a boy,” one neighbour said.

On the fateful day, the neighbours said, the couple went out to drink and on their return Agnes was never seen again.

Watson, a bricklayer in the Lusaka Show Grounds, kept telling his neighbours and relatives that his wife had travelled to Mununga in Chienge district, Luapula Province, to visit.

Like in the fictional TV series Hammer House of Horror Agnes was dead; stuffed in black plastic bags and shoved under the matrimonial bed.

The couple were together in the house each night for close to three months except one was dead.

ENTERTAINED FRIENDS

The neighbours told The Sun that life for Watson continued as normal. He could even invite and entertain people in the house while keeping the bedroom locked.

Watson, they said, used to enjoy drinks with his friends inside the house but would never allow anyone to go near the locked bedroom.

The only other accessible room was another bedroomed and the sitting room. They would even braai meat and enjoy other activities.

BATHROOM

A pool of bloody water is what remains to remind family and friends of what happened inside the Ng’ambis’ house. 

Agnes’ uncle, uncle, Michael Kalaba, 52, took The Sun news crew inside the house and showed them the bedroom and the spot where the body was found.

Traces of the river sand Watson had used to soak up the blood were still there.

Apparently, he took his bath in the bedroom, leaving pools of water.

His wife’s body was discovered under the bed where he has allegedly hidden it in polythene bags.

USED SAND TO SOAK BLOOD

Family members said Watson used loose river sand to preserve the body and suppressed the smell from his wife’s decomposing body with chemicals.

That could, perhaps, explain why there were no flies or bad stench coming from the bedroom.

River sand outside Watson’s house

Neighbours and family members suspect Watson could have obtained chemicals used to preserve corpses in mortuaries.

According to Mr Kalaba, 52, Watson allegedly scooped river sand from outside and placed it round the polythene bags containing his wife’s body. 

He did this religiously and regularly changed the sand.

Watson would remove the soaked sand from the bedroom, dump it in the yard and replace it with scoops of fresh sand.

The routine continued until dogs started eating the tainted sand.

This astounded neighbours to the extent of questioning the status of the soil.

These questions and continued persistence from Agnes’ family, who had also reported Agnes as missing to the police, unsettled Watson.

CONFESSION

Almost every day Agnes’ relatives pestered him on his wife’s whereabouts and why her mobile phone was constantly off.

Unable to keep the lid on his little secret any longer Watson is alleged to have turned to his older brother with a chilling confession.

Mr Kalaba said when they asked him if they could speak to Agnes on his phone, he refused claiming her phone was off.

This was after assuring them that in fact, he had earlier spoken to her on the phone.

Watson’s niece said he told her to be cooking for him after while his wife was missing but she was later stopped by relatives.

She said the couple quarreled a lot and that Watson used to beat Agnes.

The increasing pressure apparently got to Watson and he allegedly turned to the only person he thought could help him get rid of the body, his older brother.

It is believed that he asked his brother to help him dispose of the decomposed body of his wife.

But instead of helping, his brother went to police to report him.

SEARCH, MACABRE DISCOVERY

Police rushed to the suspected crime scene and forced the doors open.

A chilling discovery of a woman’s body packed in black plastic bags with a broken leg shocked the family and neighbours. 

For more than two months, they had believed Agnes was truly away visiting in Luapula Province.

DISAPPEARED

According to the neighbours, Watson had apparently found other people to help him and appeared in the night to collect the body, only to find police guarding his house of horror.

He and his friends ran away. He was on the run until he was cornered by members of the public on Sunday in an area called 15 Miles, about 20 kilometres from Kabanana, Lusaka, where he had committed the murder.

Watson allegedly went into hiding when he realised that far from helping, his brother, described by neighbours as a staunch Christian, had reported him to the police.

A police hunt turned up cold leads.

The man had disappeared from home and work, though he had been calling workmates and relatives to ask for some documents for a motor vehicle.

WATSON’S CAPTURE

Police spokesperson, Esther Katongo

“0n 7th July, 2019 Watson N’gambi, aged 52, the suspect who is alleged to have murdered his wife identified as Agnes Chabala Ng’ambi, aged 41 years, on 19th April, 2019 and hid her body under the bed in Lusaka’s Kabanana Compound has been apprehended by members of the public in 15 Miles area where he had gone to hide,” police spokesperson Esther Katongo announced.

Mrs. Katongo said he was apprehended on Sunday at 17:09 hours and surrendered to police.

“He is currently detained in police custody yet to be charged with murder. We thank members of the public for their alertness and quick response,” she said.

Watson’s capture has been welcomed by Agnes’ family. But the victim’s father is far from satisfied.

He is demanding “an eye for an eye”. 

“I want him dead. I want him hanged,” says Alfred Chabala, 65.

Mr Chabala and his wife, Elizabeth, are Copperbelt-based and only came to Lusaka for the funeral.

Agnes’ mother could not believe her daughter had been beaten and hacked to death by her own husband.

SHOCKING DISCOVERY

“We use to come to the house, sit and chat with Watson Ng’ambi without knowing that the body of Agnes was locked in the bedroomed. When we bothered him on her whereabouts, he would simply say she had travelled to Mununga,” a relative of   Agnes said. 

His uncle said her marriage to Watson had been dissolved by the local court in November 2018 and that the couple was ordered to share the properties.

But because he allegedly did not want to share the properties with her Watson secretly reconciled with Agnes to make it easier for him to kill her.

Mr. Kalaba told The Sun that Watson allegedly used an axe, shovel and a machete to kill his former wife and later stuffed her body in black polythene plastic bags and pushed it under the couple’s matrimonial bed where it remained for almost three months.

In their own words, this is what family members had to say when The Sun crew visited the funeral home:

The Sun:  What happened?

Mr. Kalaba: I am Michael Kalaba, 52 years old, and late Agnes was my niece. Actually, her funeral was held at my house.

We reported ku police akale ati umuntu aliluba pantu ama statement aletupela tayalepanga sense. So twatile better aye twala report ku police pantu ena aleti alelanda nankwe. Lyonse twalelanda nakwe Agnes pa phone but kwisadabwa ati phone yashima.

[We reported to police because of conflicting statements from the husband about her whereabouts].

Twaleya twaikala namung’anda kanshi icitumbi cili mu bed. Aletubepa ati Agnes aliya mukutandala kwa Mununga, akesa. Nomba iwe ulelanda nayena, ifwe tatulelanda nakwe? So twaile mukucita report ku police so that alondolole. But ba police tabacitile follow up.

[He would talk to her on the phone but not us. We would sit with him in the ehouse not knowing that Agnes’ body was under the bed. We thought she had indeed gone to the village in Mununga as he claimed. But police did not follow up.]

The Sun: How long were they married and how would you describe their marriage?

Mr. Kalaba: They were married for 11 years, but tabakwete umwana. Muli aba tamwali. In fact, that married was dissolved on November 18, 2019. Kwali ama report yakweba ati baleshupana sana.  That’s why icupo caliisapwa. Balelwa sana.

After twamushupa fwebabululu ba mwanakashi, aile eba bakalamba bakwe ati umukashi wandi alifwa nine namwipeye namubika mung’anda munshi ya bed.

So ndefyaya mungafweko ico twingacita pakweba ati tupose icitumbi.

Nomba umukalamba wakwe pantu wa church sana, elyo bakalamba, balisaumfwa umwenso elo cabekata kumutwe, so baile straight ku police nokucita report. Ilyo baishile mukupantula iciseko, twasangile ati fishinka.

Loosely translated [After we, Agnes’ relatives, bothered him continuously on her whereabouts he went to inform his older brother that he had murdered his wife and that the body was in the house under the couple’s matrimonial bed. The elder brother got scared and alerted the police].

Police officers followed up the matter and forced open the door of the house which was found locked and after a search, they found Agnes’ body in the bedroom under the bed wrapped in a black polythene plastic.

Watson Ng’ambi

The Sun: What else are you able to remember?

Mr. Kalaba: We found the body naked with a broken left leg and was in a decomposed state.

The police suggested we do the post-mortem in the house, which we did. A machete, an axe and shovel stained with blood were found where the decomposed body was laying.

The Sun: Did you not smell anything while you visited him in the house to find out on the whereabouts of Agnes?

Mr. Kalaba: After amubika mu plastic, mumbali abikilemo sand so that body ibola. Alesenda sand so that smell ilafuma. After some days nga sand yaikata amenshi, alecinja aposa elo asenda iyauma panse.

So imbwa yaleisa pa sand mukulyendoti. Elyo futi we found ama chemicals mung’anda eyo alebofwa to preserve the body so that ilanunka. Ama chemicals, gloves, nefyakubika pamona emofyali mu bedroom ifyo alebomfya.

[He put the body in a plastic and covered it with sand to prevent it from smelling. He used to replace the sand when it became wet. We found chemicals he was using to preserve the body, with gloves and masks]

Chabala’s family at the crime scene

The Sun: Anything else?

Mr Kalaba: Agnes aleikalila umwine after icupo capwa mu November last year. Alecita rent umwine but umulandu wakweba ati court yalandile ati bakakane ifipe, umulume amukonkele ati isa tuleikala iwe naine ifyupo tafyapwa.

Elyo bamusendele mu February, 2019 kanshi ali pamano yakumwipaya. Eco balandila ati bwelela ilalya. Umwana wesu bamuzembaikefye ukweba ati bamwipaye.

[Agnes was living on her own after the divorce but Ng’ambi lured her back to live with him so that he could kill her just because he did not want to share property with her]

Agnes’ father Alfred Chabala wants justice to prevail.

Mr Chabala wants Ng’ambi hanged until he is dead.

He said it was painful to lose his second daughter in such a brutal manner at the hands of a person he had been married to for over 11 years.

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