Ex-soldier charged with killing his family renews plea for bail

Peter Mugure

 Ex- KDF major Peter Mugure, the prime suspect in the murder of his estranged wife and two children in 2019, during a court hearing at Nyeri Law Court on November 8, 2022. 

Photo credit: Joseph Kanyi I Nation Media group

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A former Kenya Defence Forces soldier who is facing triple murder charges for killing his family wants the court to release him on bond.

During a hearing before Justice Martin Muya of the High Court in Nyeri, Peter Mugure, through his lawyer, George Gori, asked the court to review its two earlier rulings that have seen him denied bond.

In his application, Mr Gori lamented that the trial had taken long, to the detriment of the accused, who has been in custody since November 2019, when he was arrested for allegedly killing his estranged wife, Joyce Syombua, and two children, Prince Michael and Shanice Maua, at the Laikipia Airbase.

“The prosecution is yet to reply to the application even after acknowledging that it has received the document,” said Mr Gori, adding that the court hearings were taking long as the prosecution was only providing three witnesses per day.

Prosecutor Mwangi Gachanja had told the court that he has lined up 17 witnesses, with the majority of them being Army officers from the Laikipia Airbase.

Mr Mugure said there has been a change of circumstances since the last time he was denied bond on May 6, warranting his release on bond or bail terms. He said most of the crucial witnesses he was likely to have interfered with have already testified.

“Most of the remaining witnesses are military officers and other senior government officials,” he said in court documents.

However, the prosecution said it will oppose the application because the court has denied the plea for release on bond before.

Court documents show that Justice Muya’s predecessors – Justice Florence Muchemi and Justice Jairus Ngaah – have previously rejected Mr Mugure’s application for review of bail.

In his ruling earlier this year, Justice Muchemi found that the accused had not provided any new material evidence that would lead to a review of Justice Ngaah’s judgment delivered in February 2020.

Recant statement

Justice Ngaah denied Mr Mugure bail after he found that he had tried to interfere with the investigation of the case.

An affidavit sworn by the investigating officer, Reuben Mwaniki, which the court relied on to deny the accused bond, showed that Mr Mugure had sent his sister to Kerugoya prison to visit Collins Pamba, who was at the time his co-accused, asking him to recant his statement.

At the time, Mr Pamba was also facing triple murder charges for assisting Mr Mugure ferry the bodies of his family from the Laikipia Airbase.

Mr Pamba has since been sentenced to a five-year jail term after signing a plea-bargain agreement that turned him into a state witness. 

Mr Gori also sought to have his client’s motor vehicle released, saying it would be made available before the court whenever it is needed by witnesses.

He said Mr Mugure’s family needs the vehicle, but Mr Gachanja directed him to present a formal application before the court.

The case continues on January 26, 2023, when the court will determine the application for bond.