Inmate commits suicide in Nairobi court cell

February 11, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 11 – A prisoner serving life sentence committed suicide at the Nairobi Law Court basement cells on Friday, after his appeal against the conviction was rejected by appellate judges.

Jackson Kiarie hanged himself using his shirt moments after the Court of Appeal rejected his appeal against the sentence imposed by the High Court six years ago.

He was initially sentenced to death but this was reduced to life imprisonment following a decision by President Mwai Kibaki to commute all death sentences to life in jail.

Mr Kiarie was charged with the murder of Benson Ngumi in August 2000. In 2005 High Court judge Kalpana Rawal sentenced him and two others to death and the sentence upheld by Justices Riaga Omollo, Philip Tunoi and Samuel Bosire on Friday.

According to Prison authorities Mr Kiarie had asked prison warders guarding the basement cells to allow him use the toilet.

"He complained of a stomach upset and requested to use the toilet. The officers allowed him to do this and as usual, they do not guard prisoners inside the toilet," the officer who didn\’t want to be named said.

Mr Kiarie\’s body was found dangling by the officers after they realised he had taken too long in the toilet.

"He removed his shirt and made a rope like material before tying it to the window panes in the toilet. We only realised that something was amiss when the convict took too long to return from the toilet," an officer guarding prisoners said.

According to court records, the genesis of the killing was leadership wrangles that had bedevilled Kihiumwiri Farm where he was among more than 1,000 shareholders. He was also one of the guards at the farm.

The victim of the killing was the chairman of the group ranch.

Police officers have launched investigations into the incident and the body was taken away to the City Mortuary. 

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