A mother of five was yesterday sentenced to 15 years in prison by a Maua magistrate’s court after she was found guilty of the attempted murder of her husband by chopping off his genitals.
Chief Magistrate Tito Gesora said the prosecution had proven its case beyond doubt that the woman intended to kill her husband when she attacked him.
The offence was committed on November 19, 2021, in Igembe North, Meru County.
The court heard how the woman attacked her husband as he slept and declared that she wanted to kill him for refusing to sub-divide his miraa farm.
The man recounted how shocked he was when he saw his wife lifting a panga over him at 3 am, striking his head and limb.
As he writhed in pain, she grabbed a kitchen knife and cut off a part of his testicles.
The 60-year-old miraa farmer tried to raise the alarm but slipped into unconsciousness.
His wife then attempted to force an unidentified chemical down his throat, the court was told.
Their daughter, who was woken up by the commotion, started screaming, but her mother hit her and ordered her to shut up.
Read: Man hospitalised in Murang’a after genitals chopped off
The child ran out and called for help, attracting villagers who rushed to the home. However, the woman, who was brandishing the panga, shut the door.
One brave neighbour, who also had a panga, stormed the house, disarmed the woman and rescued the man.
The woman then attempted to escape but villagers caught her and wanted to lynch her. She was rescued by the chief, who took her to Laare police station.
Case investigating officer, Police Constable James Kanampiu, gave an account of the gory scene of the crime. He said the scene was covered in blood and he found the severed body part, as well as the bloodied machete and knife used in the attack.
The couple’s child told the court how she called for help, leading to her father’s rescue, and subsequent admission to Chaaria Mission hospital.
The victim told the stunned court that his wife had attacked him before over the land issue, but he had refused to give in to her demands because all the children were still in school. He said he did not think the disagreement was a big deal that would escalate to a violent attack.
In her defence, the woman said the attack was unintentional and blamed it on a mental illness she suffers from.
She told the court that she was not aware of what she had done, only finding herself in police custody, where she was told she had attacked her husband.
Seeking to prove her innocence, the mother insisted that her medical records be brought before the court, but it was reported that she had burnt them.
Mr Gesora sent her for a fresh psychiatric assessment, which indicated that she had been on treatment for schizophrenia since March 2021, but had recovered.
The magistrate had noted that though the report said she needed long-term follow-up by a mental health officer, she was fit to stand trial at the time.
The magistrate said the court considered that there was a possibility that she may have been sick at the time. It also investigated whether if she was sick, the sickness was of such a nature as to affect her understanding of what she was doing when she attacked her husband.
The magistrate noted that from the testimonies of a neighbour and her husband, there were instances of sickness, but she never attacked anyone else.
“The actions by the accused are not spontaneous as would be expected in a situation where one falls into an episode over which they have no control. I am convinced that there was malice aforethought and that she chose a time to do it.
“She may have been sick before, but I am convinced now beyond doubt that it was not to such an extent as to make her lose all conscience, and she cannot, therefore, benefit from the exclusion under the penal code. I find the accused guilty as charged and accordingly convict her,” said Mr Gesora.
Before sentencing, State Counsel Catherine Kathurima called for a stringent sentence, saying cases of gender-based violence against men were on the rise.
She informed the court that the victim had suffered a permanent disability and his dignity was battered, having been rescued by neighbours while naked.
“The action was wrong physically and morally. She should be an example,” said Ms Kathurima.
Mr Gesora sentenced the woman to a prison term of 15 years but explained to her that she had a right to appeal within 14 days.
The victim, who was in court, praised the judgment, saying he was happy “justice had been served”.
Flanked by family and friends, the miraa farmer said he did not understand why his wife of 27 years had exerted such cruelty on him.
“I am happy that justice has been served. I can say that the government loves its people. The attack by my wife was unprovoked. She ambushed me as I slept in the dead of the night and caused me injuries. Those saying that it was about conjugal rights, how did we live together for 27 years and she was not going elsewhere?” he asked.
Mr Joseph Kainga, a relative, said the family welcomed the ruling, saying it had put an end to the prolonged suffering the man had endured.
“We are very happy that she has been jailed for 15 years. That was a bad thing she did and it was not the first time -- she had attempted to cut him three times,” he said.
“As a woman, even if you are angered by your husband, you should not target that part of the body. She should have reported the matter to a church for it to be handled there,” said a female relative of the man.