Deathly silence greets visitors and passers-by to the Soche East house in Blantyre where 51-year-old Richard Nsamala died on Sunday last week, mercilessly murdered by his houseboy and a guard.
Behind the house lies a mound of freshly dug soil filling the waist-deep grave that harboured Nsamalaâ€™s naked body for three days, covered with two sacks, one over his head and the other on his legs.
On a Friday morning, windows and curtains of the house are closed as three security guards patrol the almost deserted compound, save for a few chickens scratching about for feed.
One of the guards directs the Nation on Sunday crew to the disrupted grave and says it was covered on Thursday after Nsamalaâ€™s body was exhumed.
The cause of the sombreness, sudden fear of domestic workers and security scare in the neighbourhood is Timothy Sinalo, 26, the houseboy who told the Blantyre Magistrateâ€™s Court on Friday that he killed Nsamala with his accomplice Kenneth Chimwanga with the sole intention of enriching themselves.
Sinalo, a father of three, was barely a month into his employment when he decided to abruptly end his masterâ€™s life.
He said this would have been his second stint with Nsamala having worked for him for ten years from 1999 to 2009.
Nsamala, now buried, did not put up a struggle as his killers squeezed the life out of him, according to the two suspects who told Nation on Sunday that they choked him to death in his sleep.
Their confessions were far from remorseful as they narrated the events leading up to the death of the former employee of Indebank.
His life was cut short by the duoâ€™s greed as they also admitted that apart from the Toyota Marino, valued at K900 000 (about $3 600), they were eyeing his television screen, decoder, two food warmers and two suits.
Said Sinalo: â€œSoon after I arranged with Chimwanga to attack my boss, we strangulated him until he stopped breathing as he slept. Looking back at all that has happened, I am very disappointed and sad. I did not hesitate to tell police the truth because of my regrets.â€
For his part, Chimwanga said he felt relieved to have confessed his sin.
He worked as a security guard in Chimwankhunda Township on a K10 000 (about $40) salary.
The two said after murdering Nsamala, they left him on his bed till morning when they decided to dig the grave behind his house and bury him before Sinalo went to Manase Township to get a driver.
The experience will live with the Nsamalas for the rest of their lives as Richardâ€™s brother, Isaac Nsamala, put it in an interview yesterday.
He was at a loss for words to understand how his â€œhumble, quiet brother, who caused no trouble for anyoneâ€ could be a victim of such a gruesome murder.
â€œWe remain in deep shock and devastation. Our hope when we learnt of the discovery of his vehicle in Bvumbwe was that he would be found alive bundled somewhere. We are shattered for him to have been murdered on his bed, in his house,â€ he said.
Meanwhile, Sinalo and Chimwanga have begun serving their sentences for theft after first grade magistrate Edna Bodole convicted them on Friday on their own plea of guilt.
Sitting in the dock at the Blantyre Magistrateâ€™s Court, the duo showed no emotion as they stared at the wooden barriers in front of them. They pleaded guilty to stealing Nsamalaâ€™s vehicle.
Sinalo, who was slapped with two years and four months, seemed not to pay any attention although he pleaded for leniency on grounds of being an orphan, a father of three and a husband.
Chimwanga was sentenced to two years.
The murder case is yet to be committed to the High Court for trial.