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Father of ‘serial killer’ to sue prison for son’s death

The father of suspected Kisumu serial killer Harrison Okumu has said he will sue prison authorities over his son’s death.

Mr Joseph Okumu on Thursday accused the prison service of negligence, saying it had a duty to care for individuals in its custody.

Harrison, who was on trial for murder, was found dead in his prison cell at around 5pm on Wednesday.

He was arrested in 2013 for the murder of seven people in Kisumu County. Nyanza Regional Prison Commandant Amos Misik said Mr Okumu might have been hit on the head with a blunt object and strangled by fellow inmates.

“We do not know what actually happened. We received a report that he quarreled with fellow inmates,”  Mr Misik told the media.

The father, however, says he believes the officers were hiding something.

“Prisons are always protected by warders. If my son was killed around 5 in the evening, where were they?” he asked.

ELIMINATED

Mr Okumu suggested his son might have been eliminated.

“As an inmate, he had a right to protection. I am not going to accept the explanation that they were not aware of what transpired before his death,” said Mr Okumu at the prison.

He demanded to know why the family was not informed about the death yet the prison authorities had their phone numbers.

He said he only learnt of the death from neighbours who called him in the middle of the night after hearing the news on radio.

“What angers me most is that his body was removed from prison and taken to the mortuary without our knowledge,” said Mr Okumu.

He said he was willing to bury his son but only after a proper explanation had been given.

Mr Okumu, who walked 20 kilometres from his home in Miwani to Kisumu Main Prison, said he wanted to confirm for himself with the officer-in-charge the circumstances under which his son died.

INVESTIGATIONS IN PROGRESS

“The information I got from the officers was not adding up. It was not an accident as they claimed,” he said.

Mr Misik said investigations into the death were in progress.

“I received a call from the duty officer on Wednesday evening that Mr Okumu had been found dead in one of the cells and that the cause of death was not known,” he said.

He said the inmates suspected to be behind the death are helping police with the investigation.

Mr Misik said Mr Okumu had violent tendencies and habitually assaulted fellow inmates. He said at one time, prison officials isolated him.

He also seemed disturbed since his arrival at the prison, said Mr Misik.

An inmate who sought anonymity said Mr Okumu was strangled by fellow inmates who were tired of his bullying. He claimed there were celebrations after news of his death spread.