Mombasa Law Courts
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How man staged a suicide scene after murder of his wife

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The new Mombasa Law Courts building in this picture taken on June 8, 2023.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

A businessman who killed his wife and made the scene to look like the woman had committed suicide has been found guilty of murder. 

Mutua Mwanzia is now staring at a long jail term after the High Court in Mombasa ruled that he murdered Mary Wanjiku Waweru.

High Court judge Anne Ong’injo ruled that although nobody saw Wanjiku being killed, Mwanzia was the last person with her, and his whereabouts on the fateful morning is not accounted for. 

“The only inference that can be made from the circumstances is that Mwanzia was involved in the murder of the deceased and made the scene look like she had committed suicide,” said the judge.

Justice Ong’ijo noted that the administration of a pesticide and use of a cable to tie the deceased on the window grill to make it look like she committed suicide by hanging is evidence of extreme malice aforethought on the part of the accused person.

The judge argued that the presence of poisonous substances in the samples examined by the government analyst and the position of the deceased at the scene of crime makes her court believe that her death was caused by an unlawful act by someone. 

“In conclusion, this court finds that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. The accused person is found guilty of the offence of murder and convicted accordingly,” she said. 

Justice Ong’ijo also noted that although pathologists were of the opinion that the Wanjiku died of possible neck compression and asphyxia due to hanging, the court looked at her photographs and found that it is not practically possible that one can die by hanging from a height that is much less than their own body height.

“It does not make sense that the deceased could have ingested pesticide then hanged herself,” she said. 

The pictures showed the deceased tied to the lowest grill on the window in their bedroom while leaning on the bed with the legs stretched out on the floor.

Mwanzia had denied killing his wife. The charge sheet indicates he committed the offense on May 13, 2016 at Ushindi area in Likoni Sub-County. 

The prosecution called 16 witnesses, including Wanjiku’s children, to support its case that Mwanzia committed the offence. 

The children told the court that their parents used to quarrel and fight, sometimes in their presence. 

“Our father would beat our mother. On that day, my mother bid me good bye and went back to the sitting room to sleep as I proceeded to school in the morning. I was later told my mother is dead,” said the minor aged eight years.

The minor’s sister, aged 13, also confirmed that their parents fought a lot. 

“But on that day, I did not hear them fight. I left them with my sister as I went to school early in the morning. I was later told our mother had died,” she said. 

However, Mwanzia explained that his wife's death shocked him because he had left her in the house and went to work. 

He said they were operating an M-Pesa business, barber shop and juice parlour, and that they had disagreed after he found shortage of money when they took account of the M-Pesa business. 

“I told her that we would talk about the matter after work as the shortage at the M-Pesa was too frequent,” he said. 

Mwanzia told the court that his wife was temperamental and he told her that he would be forced to hire someone else, but the deceased replied that he wanted to take his mistress to the M-Pesa shop. 

The accused also claimed that in 2008, Wanjiku had tried to take her own life by overdosing on medication, while accusing him of being seen with another woman in town. 

“She was taken to the dispensary where first aid was administered and she recovered. She was interrogated by the doctor and counseled,” he said.

The accused said his late wife had a bad temper and could do anything without thinking.