Family decries delays in prosecuting UK soldier in killing of woman

Mr John Kamungu and his wife Rose Wanyua, a sister to Agnes Wanjiru who met her death while in the company of British soldiers in Nanyuki ten years ago show the photos of their slain kin at their home in Majengo Estate in Nanyuki
The family of the woman whose body was found inside a hotel's septic tank have accused the Kenyan and British Governments of conspiring to block the course of justice.

Photo credit: Mwangi Ndirangu I Nation Media Group

The family of a woman allegedly killed by a British soldier in Nanyuki 10 years ago has accused the UK and the Kenyan governments of delaying justice for her.

Agnes Wanjiru, 21, reportedly died at the hands of British soldiers in 2012 at Lions Court Hotel, on the outskirts of Nanyuki.

Her body was discovered inside a septic tank at the hotel two months later.

The quest for justice gained momentum late last year when protests rocked Nanyuki, with residents and leaders led by Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi demanding the suspect be extradited to Kenya to be prosecuted in local courts.

This prompted British minister for armed forces James Heappey to visit Nanyuki in November.

He pledged his government was willing to allow extradition of suspects implicated in the murder of Wanjiru.

He also promised to meet her family.

But seven months later, little has been done, with the family saying they had not been approached by any official from the British government.

Speaking at their home in Majengo Estate on Tuesday, family spokesperson John Muchiri Kamunge accused the UK minister of deceiving the family and Kenyans.

“We learnt from the media that the UK minister visited Nanyuki last year and promised that he would meet us over the matter. Since then we have not heard from him or any representative of the UK government,” Mr Muchiri told the Nation.

The family’s concerns come in the wake of reports by British media that the prime suspect in the murder was still at large in England, with the police and the army said to be dragging their feet in the investigations.

“Key witnesses who were there on the night of Agnes’ death have not been spoken to by the military. There has also not been an investigation into eight servicemen – including Solder X (the main suspect in the murder),” The Sunday Times wrote.

The British soldiers, then attached to the British Unit Training in Kenya (Batuk) camp in Nanyuki, were on a night beer-drinking spree with commercial sex workers when Wanjiru met her death.

Some of the soldiers at the merry-making party confessed they were shown Wanjiru’s body by one of their colleagues, the alleged killer.

Members of Soldier X's regiment allege the name of her killer was an open secret, with five different soldiers identifying the same person to The Sunday Times.

The newspaper reported last Sunday that the British Army had not held an inquiry and none of those present that night had been questioned by their superiors.

An inquest was held in Kenya in 2019 and a judge ruled the mother was 'murdered by British soldiers', but no subsequent action was taken by the army.

Ms Rose Wanyua, a sister of Wanjiru, decried delays in prosecuting the suspects, saying her sister’s child, now aged 11, had come to learn how her mother met her death and was traumatised.

“The girl has been asking me why and how her mother was killed by a white man. She has learnt all this from the media and it is our desire the culprit be brought to book soonest,” she said.

She said she does not have a permanent job and is struggling to support the child’s education and upkeep.

“There is a well-wisher who has been paying fees for her. But I have to take care of all the other basic needs. It would have been better if the British government had committed itself to supporting the child,” she said.


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