, KIAMBU, Kenya, Feb 13 – Tears, nail biting, damning accusations and emotions characterised the court session Wednesday, as the prime suspects in the murder of Kiambu woman Mary Wambui Kamangara appeared after 14 days in custody.
The court was packed to the brim as the suspects and their relatives followed the proceedings as some recorded it using their phones.
The first to be summoned to the dock was Joseph Kori Karue, followed by his mistress Judy Wangui Mungai and later the car hire businessman after the case was consolidated.
Karue broke down several times as the defence made its case against an application by the police to hold them for a further 14 days to conclude their investigations.
His lawyer told the court that Karue is a family man and would suffer more if he is detained.
The defence team for the two other suspects made similar pleas for their clients.
-Ombeta damning allegations-
It was however lawyer Cliff Ombeta’s submissions that triggered Wangui’s emotions.
Wangui was being held at Juja Police Station, where Ombeta told the court she underwent untold suffering.
“My client was tortured as two female police officers tried to extract information from her. They also attempted to coerce her to alter her statement, I don’t know in whose favour,” Ombeta submitted.
While in custody, lawyer Ombeta told the court presided over by Senior Principal Magistrate Stella Atambo that the officers “even inserted chili inside her private parts.”
He claimed that there were visible body marks on Wangui as a result of the alleged torture.
The prosecution however denied the claims saying, “we did not require police to torture the second respondent to get any information or even to change her statement.”
The prosecution urged the court to order a probe to establish the authenticity of the claims.
“The outcome of the probe should be tabled in this court,” the State submitted.
Ombeta urged the court to save the mother of a five-year-old son “from further suffering by ruling in our favour.”
-Why the need for 14 more days-
Due to the “seriousness and complexity of the case”, the Investigating Officer Inspector of Police John Wahome from the homicide unit based at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations said he needed more time to conclude investigations.
He said the case was transferred from Juja by the Director of Criminal Investigations George Kinoti to the homicide unit due to its nature.
If granted more time, he wants the three suspects to be taken for mental examination and take their DNA samples for analysis.
He also revealed that detectives were pursuing more suspects.
“After taking over investigations, the homicide team established some areas had not been fully covered, which involve the inputs of experts who include but not limited to Cyber Crime Unit, Ballistic Unit, Photographic Section and Government Chemist,” reads a section of his affidavit.
“We fear if released, they may interfere with investigations as we intend to do more recoveries of exhibits and arrests hence releasing them may prejudice our investigations.”
Considering the “gravity of the case”, the Investigating Officer cited fears of the suspects absconding from court if released.
While the defence argued “that the victim had no applicable rights because she is dead”, the Investigating Officer said detaining them further will “balance between the rights of the respondents and the victim who outweighs the former.”
The court will make a ruling at 2pm on the applications made.