What you need to know:
- The brutal murder of the mother of one has been the highlight of criminal misconduct by foreign soldiers deployed in Nanyuki under a pact that allows them to train in Kenya.
- In her ruling in the inquest, Principal Magistrate Njeri Thuku ordered that the hotel be probed over the suspected cover-up of the murder.
- An autopsy report presented to the court showed that Agnes was stabbed multiple times before being dumped into a septic tank 50 metres from the hotel room.
The management of Lion’s Court in Nanyuki ignored reports of a scuffle and tampered with evidence on the scene where Agnes Wanjiru was supposedly killed by British soldiers 10 years ago.
A key witness in the 2012 murder investigation of Agnes spoke to Sunday Nation, opening up on past cover-ups of crimes, including rape and assault, by British military personnel.
Moses Moiyare, who worked as a night guard at the Lion’s Court Hotel for five years, describes the soldiers as “rowdy and destructive”.
“When they were here, things would get chaotic. They were very destructive,” he explained.
For decades, Nanyuki residents enjoyed a good relationship with soldiers under the British Army Training Unit Kenya (Batuk) through jobs and business.
One of the biggest beneficiary of the Batuk deployment was the nightlife, particularly hotels, clubs and illicit sex trade.
But a dark side had been gradually simmering and erupted following the discovery of the body of Agnes, 21, in a septic tank at Lions Court Hotel.
The brutal murder of the mother of one has been the highlight of criminal misconduct by foreign soldiers deployed in Nanyuki under a pact that allows them to train in Kenya.
Mr Moiyare was the guard on shift on the material night and a first responder to the scene of the murder.
Despite being a key witness in the investigations that were initiated a few months later, he was never called as a witness to testify before a court inquest that found that Agnes was, indeed, killed by British soldiers.
He was only approached by Homicide detectives in December 2020, eight years after the murder, for questioning and recording of a statement.
He was fired from the hotel a few weeks after the body was discovered.
Around 9pm on Saturday, March 31, 2012, Agnes arrived at the hotel in the company of her sister, Susan Nyambura, and Florence Nyaguthii.
As was the norm at the time, the hotel’s club was packed with British soldiers looking to unwind with local women.
“The British soldiers were the most frequent customers. Their presence attracted many women, mostly sex workers. They had a lot of money,” Mr Moiyare said.
Agnes and her friends headed for the nightclub within the hotel where they met British soldiers.
They would later separate in the dead of night. Agnes was last seen in the company of a soldier and together they entered a cottage on the furthest end of the hotel.
Around 3 am, Mr Moiyare was patrolling the hotel grounds when he came across four British soldiers at the reception of the hotel.
They had changed into civilian clothes. He recalls noticing that they looked uneasy and quiet as they hardly spoke.
“They were very quiet, which is not usual for people who had been partying most of the night.”
Ideally, the soldiers would request him to call a taxi for them, but this time, they declined his offer.
“They would usually ask for a taxi to take them back to their base, but they said they did not want one because someone was going to pick them up,” he said.
Mr Moiyare said the soldiers were later picked up by a British Army vehicle some 10 to 20 minutes later.
He later went for routine inspection of the room Agnes had been in and found that the soldiers had left their belongings, including a sound system and bags. But there was more.
“The glass door was broken. I took the bags they left to the reception,” Mr Moiyare said.
The guard denies seeing blood in the room, but court documents from an inquest into the murder showed hotel staff found blood in the room.
Mr Moiyare reported about the broken door to the management and says it was repaired a few days later.
This, according to the guard, was normal and usually such incidents were never reported to authorities or investigated.
Instead, the hotel would have the soldiers pay for the damages.
Even though the guard has denied ever hearing any commotion from the room, Sunday Nation has learnt that the management was notified of a fight in the room where Agnes was killed on the same night.
The management took no action, raising suspicion of a cover-up.
In her ruling in the inquest, Principal Magistrate Njeri Thuku ordered that the hotel be probed over the suspected cover-up of the murder, after the general manager at the time, George Njuguna, told court there had been nothing unusual on the night.
“I find it hard to believe that the management of a hotel would find it usual to find a broken mirror and blood in a room. This points to signs of a cover-up of a misdeed committed in their premises and should be subject of an investigation by the Director of Public Prosecutions.”
An autopsy report presented to the court showed that Agnes was stabbed multiple times before being dumped into a septic tank 50 metres from the hotel room.
As Mr Moiyare explains, the murder was an escalation of years of violations by British soldiers that not only went unpunished but was also abetted and covered up by the hotel management and local authorities.
He says incidents of the soldiers destroying property of the hotel after a drinking spree were so common, and the hotel would solve such issues by surcharging the soldiers the costs incurred in repairs.
Mr Moiyare revealed that on multiple occasions, he would “rescue sex workers who were being assaulted by British soldiers, physically and sexually”.
“I would find up to three men sleeping with one woman and rescue her. They would scream for help. Sometimes even on the lawn I would find the soldiers ‘lying on top’ of the girls,” he said.
He said sometimes one soldier would pay to sleep with a sex worker but others would join in and forcibly have sex with the same woman without paying.
Others would also be physically assaulted by the soldiers on theft accusations.
The cases were never reported; instead, the victims would be ejected from the premises.
Local revellers would also be assaulted by intoxicated foreign soldiers.
Mr Moiyare said the management often overlooked the violations because the soldiers would pay well.
The current general manager, who only identified as Anne, said she was not aware of the ongoing investigations.
“I was not there at the time. I would wish not to comment on the matter.”
The allegations of past cover-ups were corroborated by a court testimony by former Nanyuki Police Station Commander Mohammed Jerumani, who said he received multiple reports of bar brawls involving British soldiers but they were never investigated.
In his testimony, he even told court that he had personally witnessed an incident where British soldiers were harassing women by throwing their drinks from the balcony of a bar at Sherlock’s Bar within Nanyuki.
“I reported the cases to the manager but he did not seem to care. Some of the girls did not seem to care either. You see the British brought more money so the management did not seem bothered. In fact if an African was rowdy we would remove them but the British would be left alone. The British bought more alcohol and paid more,” he said.
The Nation reached out to the hotel management on the Agnes murder investigations and the allegations but they declined to comment saying the hotel is currently under different management.
The current General Manager who only identified as Anne said that she was not aware of the ongoing investigations.
“I was not there at the time and the hotel was under different management. I would wish not to comment on the matter,” she said.
The allegations of past cover ups were corroborated by a court testimony by former Nanyuki Police Station Commander (OCS) Mohammed Jerumani whon said he received multiple reports of bar brawls involving British soldiers but they were never investigated.
Mr Mohammed who took command of Nanyuki police station around the time of Agnes’ murder said the bar brawls reported to him were never investigated due to diplomatic immunity.
In his testimony he even told court that he had personally witnessed an incident where British soldiers were harassing ladies by throwing their drinks from the balcony of a bar at Sherlock’s Bar, within Nanyuki.