Caption for the landscape image:

City woman Jailed 30 years for killing a child to win back her husband's love

Scroll down to read the article

Woman jailed for 30 years for killing a child to win back her husband's love

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Ellenah Nyambura and Peter Kamau were doing fine in their marriage until a second and third woman came into their lives.

The mother of one persevered for a short while until the second woman, Eunice Nyambura, gave birth to a baby girl, the third woman in their lives, and things changed. The third woman was a baby girl who stole her father's heart. 

Before she got the baby girl, Eunice worked at a bakery owned by Ellenah and Kamau, located in Nairobi's Kariobangi. The employee turned into a second wife but it was only after she gave birth that the death plan was hatched.

Soon, Ellenah realised that Kamau no longer showed their son the same affection as before. His affection had shifted to baby Sheila Wanjiku.

Ellenah got jealous and started toying with the idea of eliminating baby Sheila- to rekindle their lost family love. She got in touch with a friend, Peris Njeri who agreed with her that Sheila should go.

Njeri then contacted Godfrey Njuguna, Ellenah ’s brother, and Kenneth Muriithi, who got a killer to do the heinous crime.

That was in 2009.

After an elaborate plan, baby Sheila Wanjiku was murdered on August 2, 2009. She was one year and eight months old when she was stabbed to death.

After hearing evidence from 14 witnesses, Justice Fred Ochieng' (now Court of Appeal judge) sentenced the four to hang in January 2016. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

The four appealed against the sentence, pleading with the court to reduce their time in prison. They said they were remorseful and regretted killing the baby. They urged the court to give them a second chance.

A bench of three judges was persuaded that the four had reformed from the mitigation they gave to the trial court. The judges then reduced their sentences to 30 years each, in prison. The sentences are to run from the date of the judgment in 2016.

“Taking into account the circumstances of this case, including the time the appellants spent in custody, and the mitigation by the appellants, we substitute the death sentence, which was later commuted to life thereof, with 30 years’ imprisonment from the date of conviction,” Justices Patrick Kiage, Abida Ali-Aroni and Lydia Achode said.

Evidence tabled in court showed that on the fateful day, Njuguna travelled with two assassins from the village to Nairobi.

How they did it

The three met with Njeri, who took them to Eunice’s house, where they brutally butchered the innocent child and stabbed the housekeeper.

In arriving at its determination, the trial court relied on the evidence of the housekeeper and a neighbour, who identified Njeri, Njuguna, and Muriithi.

The househelp identified Njeri as the woman who spoke to her through the window at 9 a.m. on the fateful day, pretending to look for Eunice. That was about 10 minutes before the assassins entered the house.

The housekeeper testified that she was able to identify the killers, one of them had claimed to be a brother to Eunice, as they had stayed in the house for about 20 minutes, alleging that she was on the way home, before they turned against her, stabbed her, and later stabbed the child. They left her for the dead.

The neighbour was attracted by the presence of Njeri, who was standing with some people outside the house at Civil Servants Estate in Nairobi for some time.

It was the neighbour’s evidence that she was able to recognise the killers after observing them for about 10 minutes.

The four would later make separate confessions, which they later retracted, a move that forced the trial court to conduct a mini-trial, which confirmed that the confessions were properly taken.

The confessions were detailed, and the contents were similar in all material aspects, though separately written.

Further, the confessions corroborated the evidence of the house help, the neighbour and the girl’s parents to a large extent.

Further, the trial court found the evidence placed Njeri, Njuguna and Muriithi at the scene of the crime.

The trial court further found as a matter of fact that Ellenah conceived the idea of eliminating Sheila, enlisted her brother Njuguna, whose role was to recruit the killers, and that Njeri was to point out the house to the killers.

Their lawyer pleaded with the court to give them a second chance submitting that they were facing a crime of passion.

The court was also informed that the four had spent seven years in custody before they were sentenced.

Ellenah informed the court that she was a transformed woman through counselling and was now a counsellor to other prisoners.

The prosecution had proposed to the court for each of the convicts to be resentenced to 40 years in prison.