UK minister to meet Agnes Wanjiru’s kin following unresolved murder

Agnes Wanjiru

John Muchiri and his wife Rose Wanyua during an interview at Majengo area in Nanyuki town on October 25, 2021. The family is seeking justice for their kin, the late Agnes Wanjiru, who was allegedly murdered by a British soldier nine years ago in a Nanyuki hotel.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Agnes Wanjiru, 21, reportedly died in the hands of British soldiers in Nanyuki in 2012.
  • Mr Heappey says he sympathised with the family’s anger at how long the process is taking.

Britain's Minister of State for Armed Forces James Heappey has offered to meet with the family of a Kenyan woman allegedly killed by a British soldier more than a decade ago.

Agnes Wanjiru, 21, reportedly died at the hands of British soldiers at Lions Court Hotel, on the outskirts of Nanyuki town, in 2012.

Understood the pain 

Heappey told the BBC he “absolutely” understood the pain of the deceased's relatives.

Her body was discovered in a septic tank near a British military base in Nanyuki.

“I absolutely understand their pain…I am happy to meet and discuss and sympathise and understand as best I can,” he said. 

Mr Heappey says he sympathised with the family’s anger at how long the process is taking.

But he clarified that any meeting would not be about accepting culpability on behalf of the United Kingdom while the legal investigation continued.

Dont seem to care

In October 2023, the deceased’s family wrote an open letter to King Charles saying “British officials don’t seem to care” about the case and asked the monarch for a visit during his trip to the country.

The quest for justice gained momentum when protests rocked Nanyuki, with residents and leaders led by Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi demanding the suspect be extradited to Kenya to be prosecuted in local courts.

This prompted Heappey to visit Nanyuki in November 2023 were he said his government was willing to allow extradition of suspects implicated in the murder of Wanjiru.

Nothing to hide

“I am not satisfied with the progress that is being made. We want this matter resolved once and for all. We have nothing to hide. If the evidence shows that the individual was culpable then he is yours to extradite,” said Heappey.

The family’s concerns come in the wake of reports by British media that the prime suspect in the murder was still at large in England, with police and the army said to be dragging their feet in the investigations.

“Key witnesses who were there on the night of Agnes’ death have not been spoken to by the military. There has also not been an investigation into eight servicemen – including Solder X (the main suspect in the murder),” The Sunday Times wrote.

Commercial sex workers 

The British soldiers, then attached to the British Unit Training in Kenya (Batuk) camp in Nanyuki, were on a night beer-drinking spree with commercial sex workers when Wanjiru met her death.

Some of the soldiers at the merry-making party confessed they were shown Wanjiru’s body by one of their colleagues, the alleged killer.

Members of Soldier X's regiment allege the name of her killer was an open secret, with five different soldiers identifying the same person to The Sunday Times.

The newspaper recently reported that the British Army had not held an inquiry and none of those present that night had been questioned by their superiors.

An inquest was held in Kenya in 2019 and a judge ruled the mother was 'murdered by British soldiers', but no subsequent action was taken by the army.