Zimbabwe woman charged over toddler and mother fire deaths

Zimbabwe woman charged over toddler and mother fire deaths


Zimbabwean Barbara Zhanje, 48, from Rockingham Road, Corby, Northamptonshire, was charged with two counts of manslaughter when she appeared at the Luton Crown Court on Tuesday.

Victims Bola Ejifunmilayo, 29, and her daughter Fiyin Ejifunmilayo were sleeping in their flat which they shared with Zhanje’s estranged boyfriend on Fishermead Boulevard, Milton Keynes, on September 5 when prosecutors allege Zhanje set fire to the property.

The huge fire in the multi-occupancy house caused structural damage, with the collapse of floors and ceilings meaning rescue teams could not reach the pair.

One firefighter was injured trying to enter the bedroom where the remains of the Nigerian woman and her daughter were later found. He was taken to hospital after the floor collapsed and he fell to the level below. He was treated for arm and shoulder injuries and was later released.

When the trial opens on December 3, prosecutors will tell a jury that Ejifunmilayo and daughter were innocent victims of a love scrap between wheelchair-bound Zhanje and her estranged boyfriend, a Mr Jumbe.

Prosecutors will produce evidence that Jumbe – who is married and has a family in Zimbabwe — had ended the affair with Zhanje, who was unwilling to let go.

On the day of the tragedy, the court will hear that jilted Zhanje – who travels around on a wheelchair – asked a friend to drive her from Corby to Milton Keynes and wheel her to the flat which her ex-boyfriend shared with Ejifunmilayo.

The pair, it is alleged, quarrelled and Zhanje left. She later returned – and unaware Jumbe had since gone out – she locked the door and set the property on fire.