In December 2021, Benadite Wanjiru Kagiri's desperate search for employment took a tragic turn when she left her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter in the care of a house help.
Kagiri had secured a job as a saleswoman in Kiambu and left her daughter at her sister's house in Lanet, Nakuru, with plans to pick her up once she was settled.
Her sister, who has two children, hired a house help in February 2022, Eunice Adhiambo.
Little did Kagiri know that this decision would lead to a series of heartbreaking events.
On July 24, 2022, her sister informed her that the child was unwell and would be taken to hospital the following morning.
Reassured by the house help that the child was recovering, she remained calm. But on the third day, Kagiri received a devastating phone call: her daughter had collapsed and died.
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As the family mourned and buried the child on July 30, an unimaginable discovery reopened the family's healing wounds.
While reviewing CCTV footage, Kagiri's brother-in-law, a Mr Karanja, uncovered the horrific truth behind the child's death.
In a Nakuru court before magistrate Samuel Mohochi, Kagiri recounted how the CCTV footage showed the house help cruelly suffocating her innocent daughter for wetting herself.
The footage showed the house help choking the child, beating her with an object, stripping her naked and callously leaving her outside in the rain.
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"In August Karanja, my brother-in-law checked the CCTV and saw the child being tortured. The footage showed the accused strangling the child in the living room and beating her all over her body with an object. She stripped her naked and threw her outside the house into the rain," Kagiri told the court.
Kagiri's nine-year-old niece said she found her cousin unconscious on the veranda after returning from school.
"When I came back from school, I found my cousin Talia in front of our house, lying on the veranda, face up and sprawled out. She was stark naked, so I picked her up and took her inside," the niece said.
The court heard that the house help continued to beat the child inside the house and the nine-year-old girl testified that she was forced to take part in the abuse.
"While I was getting dressed, Eunice handed me the pipe she was holding and forced me to hit Talia. I didn't want to, but I had to because she was very hard on me," the witness said.
The court was told the house help panicked when she realised the child was running out of breath and her temperature was rising.
Panicking further as the child's condition worsened, she administered medication and rushed her to hospital, but it was too late.
The child was pronounced dead.
The niece revealed the house help's attempt to silence her about the abuse, and the family then reported the incident to Lanet police, leading to the arrest of the house help.
"She told us not to tell anyone. She used to beat her whenever she wet herself," the girl told the court.
The child's body was exhumed and a post-mortem revealed signs of torture, including beatings and strangulation.
Adhiambo denied the charges and was granted Sh500,000 bail, despite opposition from prosecutors who said she was a flight risk because of her Ugandan connections.
A pre-trial report revealed that Adhiambo was born in Siribo C village in Marachi East, Butula near the Kenya-Uganda border.
She had previously worked as a maid in Kisii and Mawanga in Nakuru.