Wife from hell gets 25 years for husband’s murder in Kiserian
A woman who colluded with her boyfriend to murder her estranged husband two years ago has been handed a 25-year-jail sentence by a Kajiado court.
While handing down the sentence on Thursday, Justice Reuben Nyakundi downscaled Emma Wanjiru’s charge from murder to manslaughter on grounds she was not the principal perpetrator of the murder.
Ms Wanjiru had been charged with murdering Simon Karathe at Oloosurutia in Kiserian, Kajiado County, on December 6, 2015, jointly with others not before the court.
She will, however, serve 23 years in jail as the judge took into consideration the two years she has already spent in custody.
The accused’s lawyer, Aunga Omwenga, had pleaded for a lenient sentence, saying that her client was a first offender.
“She also has a son, a niece and a mother who has arthritis and hypertension, who depend on her. She has also suffered in the two years she was in prison custody,” said the lawyer.
In opposing a lenient sentence for Ms Wanjiru, Alex Akula, the prosecuting counsel, said the accused deserved a harsh sentence.
“The accused has never shown any form of remorse or given any apology to the family of the deceased, which is still in pain. A lenient sentence would not be favourable,” said Mr Akula.
By handing down the maximum sentence allowed by law under manslaughter, Justice Nyakundi took note of the manner in which Karathe met his death through a chemical that was forcibly administered to him by his killers.
“This spoke to the level of planning of his death,” said the judge. “Secondly, you abused the trust he had put on you as you had been in a relationship. Third, the nature of his injuries and the fact you have shown no genuine remorse.”
Karathe had his skull smashed and his legs broken, besides ingesting the chemical.
“The maximum sentence for manslaughter is life imprisonment but, after weighing one factor after the other, I will not invoke the life sentence. I, therefore, give you 25 years in prison but since you have spent two years in custody, the law allows me to discount those two years and therefore sentence you to 23 years in prison,” said Justice Nyakundi while sentencing Ms Wanjiru.
Justice Nyakundi gave Ms Wanjiru 14 days within which to lodge an appeal.
MAIMED FOR LIFE
If she serves the full sentence, Ms Wanjiru, who is 40, will come out of jail in 2040, at the age of 63. His brother Gitau Mungai told the Sunday Nation that had he survived the ordeal, he would have been maimed for life. “Those were very serious injuries,” said Gitau.
Karathe’s relatives, while accepting the court verdict nonetheless felt it was lenient, given the manner the man met his death.
“While we cannot question the verdict of the court, we feel the prosecution proved that Emma participated in killing my brother and should thus have gotten the maximum sentence,” said Gitau.
He now fears for the security of the family.
“The other accused is still at large and we believe he is still in touch with Emma,” he said. “I am saying this bearing in mind we used to receive threatening messages. Do you think Karathe’s wife will feel safe to go and tend to the farm her husband left behind?”
Gitau observed that the injuries his brother suffered on the head and legs, on that fateful morning, show that there must have been a big struggle before his assailants finally subdued him.
“My brother was a big man, more than six feet tall,” he says. “Had he been fully prepared, he would have overpowered them and escaped with his life.”
As Karathe lay fighting for his life on the day he was killed, his niece, Anna Njoki, happened to be passing behind his house on the way to a nearby shop. It is then that she heard her uncle groaning in pain.
She rushed back home to tell her mother Jane Wambui that her uncle was in distress.
Upon reaching Karathe’s compound, Ms Wambui saw Ms Wanjiru by the toilet, next to the fence. Ms Wanjiru fled through the fence.
Inside Karathe’s one roomed house, she found a man trying to force a liquid into Karathe’s mouth. She knew the man; Anthony Maina, or Rasta, who was believed to be Ms Wanjiru’s boyfriend.
Rasta chased Wambui and her daughter with a panga, and then he disappeared.
Gitau narrated how he received a weird text message from the late Karathe’s number the same day he died, purporting to give instructions on what should happen in the event that he died.
In the message, ‘Karathe’ asked to be buried at the Langata Cemetery, since his land now ‘belonged’ to Ms Wanjiru. Gitau now reckons the message was meant to be Karathe’s suicide note, “only that it came in at 9 am, while he had been pronounced dead at 7 am. The message was presented in court as evidence.
On the day Karathe was laid to rest in his farm, irate mourners set on fire Ms Wanjiru’s household items and demolished the house. While rummaging through the debris, Gitau said, the mourners recovered two sharpened pangas, a pair of grille cutters and a toy pistol.
“We took those to the police station to be used as evidence,” he adds.