Toxic masculinity: Egerton student to serve 10 years for killing campus lover over break-up

Edmond Ruto.

Edmond Ruto at the Nakuru Law Courts on March 2, 2018. In his ruling Justice Joel Ngugi, while handing Ruto a 10-year custodial sentence, noted that the murder was a clear example of toxic masculinity that needs to be discouraged in society.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Edmond stabbed her twice on the neck, then on the stomach and later on her thigh.
  • He then turned the knife on himself and twice stabbed his neck before falling down unconscious. 
  • All this while neighbours were trying to break the door in response to distress calls from Ms Chelangat.

On the night of February 9, 2021, Cynthia Chelangat a fourth-year Egerton university student was resting inside her rental room in a hostel in Njokerio area in the Njoro sub county when her fiancé Edmond Ruto also a fourth-year student at the same university sneaked into the room.

His face was red while his eyes burned with rage.

Ms Chelangat who had indicated to him her intention to end the relationship the previous night had had him barred from accessing the room.

And on seeing him standing right in front of her face inside her room she was trembling in fear and shock.

Before she could think of what to do, Ruto angrily demanded an immediate explanation from her regarding details of her movements right from that night when she backed off on him.

Ruto wanted to know where she had spent the night as well as the detailed record of her actions since they were last together.

She was no longer interested in the relationship and could not stand such demands from him so a heated exchange ensued.

However, Ms Chelangat sensed danger when the boyfriend locked the door from inside so she stopped and decided to call for help. 

In a bid to avert any possible danger she decided to put away a knife that was lying on the table.

Unfortunately, it emerged that she was too late. Ruto followed her and grabbed the knife and stabbed her twice on the neck, then on the stomach and later on her thigh.

He then turned the knife on himself.

All this happened as neighbours tried to break the door in response to distress calls from Ms Chelangat.

After gaining access to the room, the two were lying unconscious in a pool of blood. 

Ms Chelangat, a daughter of a single mother, whose family had fundraised for her Bachelor's degree program, died in her final year of study. 

She died in the hands of a man she once loved and trusted with her life.

The said boyfriend who was also finalising his bachelor’s degree in Economics and statistics had survived, treated and discharged before being handed over to the police.

Appearing before court on February 21, 2018, Ruto denied the charge of murder and was issued a bond.

However, after a three-year trial, he reneged on his earlier position and decided to enter a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution to plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

The student confessed to killing his girlfriend by stabbing her in the neck and stomach before attempting to commit suicide.

During mitigation before Justice Joel Ngugi, he claimed to be remorseful and a changed person after learning from his mistakes.

Ruto told the court that he had made arrangements for his family to visit the deceased’s family and offer apologies on his behalf as well as offering traditional penance and an offer of reconciliation.

He pleaded with the court for a lenient punishment arguing that he was still a young man aged 25 years of age and the only hope for his family and that he had acted out of anger.

Chelagat's family as well as the prosecution, however, sought the maximum punishment for Mr Ruto so that it could serve as a lesson to others in toxic relationships.

The prosecution suggested a 20-year custodial sentence while the family wanted life imprisonment.

Lawyer Benhard Kipkoech Ngetich who was holding brief for the family told the court to take into consideration the brutal, cruel and dehumanising manner that Ms Chelangat was Killed.

He reminded the court that the woman was killed by a person in a position of trust, as her boyfriend.

Mr Ng’etich called for a punishment that would restore equilibrium in relationships and send a message to men and women in marriages to understand that intimacy is not slavery and that girls and women are not instruments but human beings with dignity.

In his ruling Justice Joel Ngugi, while handing Ruto a 10-year custodial sentence, noted that the murder was a clear example of toxic masculinity that needs to be discouraged in society.

“This is the kind of toxic masculine behaviour that requires vehement discouragement in our young people as the victim’s counsel correctly pointed out,” ruled justice Ngugi.

The sentence shall run from February 2018 when the suspect was arraigned in court.

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