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Dutch tycoon murder: 'How I helped my friend kill her husband in Mombasa'

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Mary Nekesa Ambani (right), who expressed remorse for her involvement in the murder of Dutch tycoon Herman Rouwenhorst during an earlier court appearance. Standing next to her is co-suspect Timothy Omondi Ngowe.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

"I am remorseful for my actions, I have learned my lessons. I pray for a lenient sentence."

Those were the words of Mary Nekesa Ambani through her lawyer, three months after she pleaded guilty to helping plan the murder of Dutch tycoon Herman Rouwenhorst.

Appearing before High Court Judge Ann Ong'injo on Monday, Ms Nekesa appeared subdued, her actions weighing heavily on her face. 

Even as she expressed remorse for her involvement in the murder, the role she played in the grand scheme has now strengthened the prosecution's case against the main suspect.

Ms Nekesa told the court that she was a single mother of two and wanted a lenient sentence that would allow her to take care of her two children. 

 Riziki Cherono Ali

Riziki Cherono Ali, who is suspected of killing her husband, Dutch national Herman Rouwenhorst (inset), when she appeared before a Mombasa court on September 16, 2021.  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

She said that when she committed the offence in 2021, she had already separated from the father of her children, leaving her with the sole responsibility of caring for the minors.

"My children have been staying with their aunt, who is also a widow, since I was arrested in 2021. I am asking the court for leniency for the sake of my children," Ms Nekesa said. 

Ms Nekesa further said that during her three years in prison, she had learnt vital skills that would help her cope with life outside prison walls.

She was charged along with Mr Rouwenhorst's widow, Riziki Ali Cherono, and Timothy Omondi Ngowe alias Rashid alias Tony Ochieng' alias Mohamed Khalid with the murder of the Dutchman and a security guard, Evans Pole Bokoro, at his home. 

Riziki Cherono Ali (right) during a past court session.

Photo credit: FileI Nation Media Group.

They allegedly committed these offences on June 4, 2021, but she entered into a plea bargain agreement with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and is now a state witness.

As a result of this agreement, the State has reduced the charge against Ms Nekesa from murder to manslaughter. 

Ms Nekesa pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter in March, when the court heard that she had unlawfully killed Rouwenhorst and Bokoro. She is awaiting sentencing.

But what has Ms Nekesa done, or what is she sorry for? 

By her own admission before Justice Ong'injo, Ms Nekesa was the woman who facilitated the entry of hired killers into Mr Rouwenhorst's Roco apartment in Shanzu, Mombasa, in the middle of the night.

Court records show that on the night of June 3, Ms Nekesa was taken to an unoccupied room in the apartment. Her main role was to wait until the middle of the night to facilitate the entry of hired killers into the compound to eliminate the Dutchman.

Ms Nekesa and Ms Cherono were long-time friends, so she was not new to the deceased's home. 

Court records show that she was previously an employee at the apartment and also had other business dealings with the widow.

The court was further informed that Ms Nekesa introduced Ms Cherono to Mr Omondi and the two would occasionally hang out together.

Ms Nekesa said she facilitated the entry of the hired killers into Mr Rouwenhorst's Roco Apartment in Shanzu on the night of the incident. 

Detectives investigate at Roco Apartments in Shanzu, Mombasa, where Dutch national Herman Rouwenhorst was brutally murdered along with a night security guard, in this photo taken on June 6, 2021. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The apartments were used as residential premises where the deceased and his family lived and included fully furnished rental units.

One day, during their time together, Mrs Cherono is said to have confided in her friend Nekesa about her intention to get rid of her husband, Rouwenhorst, by murdering him. Mr Omondi was chosen to carry out the murder.

From here, Nekesa allegedly facilitated communication between Cherono and Omondi for planning purposes.

On June 3, Cherono allegedly helped Nekesa to hide in one of the empty rooms in the apartment.

"At about 2am on June 4, Nekesa helped Omondi to enter the apartment complex," prosecutor Bernard Ngiri told the court earlier.

To facilitate the entry without arousing suspicion, Nekesa allegedly told Bokoro that Omondi was her guest.

The prosecution said investigators found that Nekesa and Omondi went to the empty room and planned to poison meat meant for the security dogs to incapacitate them.

Omondi then allegedly left with a metal rod concealed in his jacket. Some 45 minutes later, Bokoro was found writhing in agony.

Court records show that Omondi was accompanied by two others.

The three attackers then went to Rouwenhorst's room and assaulted him, leaving him unconscious.

The court was told that an examination of call records linked Nekesa to the location and indicated that she communicated with Cherono and Omondi before and after the incident.

"A mobile phone recovered from the suspects revealed text messages detailing a plot by Nekesa and Omondi on how the murder was to be carried out," said Ngiri.

According to court records, Nekesa was arrested and charged as the central figure in coordinating the killings from an empty room in the apartment where Cherono allegedly hosted her to facilitate the execution of the plans.

Investigators also mentioned that the suspect had a small tenant's gate key, which she used to open the gate for Omondi to enter the compound when he arrived at the scene.