Tirop's murder suspect, Ibrahim Rotich, to stay longer in prison

Ibrahim Rotich (R), husband of Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop who was found dead with stab wounds, appears in a dock for a hearing at the High Court in Eldoret, Kenya, On December 1, 2021. 

Photo credit: Casmir ODUOR | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Rotich, 41, did not appear in the dock on Wednesday, with prison authorities saying he is under isolation due to his health.

Ibrahim Rotich, who is accused of killing athlete Agnes Tirop, will stay longer in prison cells after the High Court in Eldoret on Wednesday adjourned ruling on his bond application for the fourth time.

Rotich, 41, did not appear in the dock on Wednesday, with prison authorities saying he is under isolation due to his health.

“He is suffering from smallpox and that has forced us to put him in isolation. He cannot be allowed to mingle with other inmates,” a prison warder in charge of the court case told journalists at the High Court after adjournment of the bond ruling.

A senior court clerk at the court confirmed that the case has been adjourned due to absence of a presiding judge currently on leave until May.

The clerk, who asked to remain anonymous, extended the mentioning of the case to next week for further directions from the Deputy Registrar who is also away from the office on official duties.

“Since the matter was coming up for bond ruling today and the judge is away on leave, I have been forced to extend the mention of the case to May 4,” said the court clerk.

Rotich took plea on November 16, 2021 and denied the murder charge before Justice Reuben Nyakundi.

The charge sheet had stated that Rotich killed Tirop on October 12,2021 at Rural estate in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County.

The accused who went missing after the incident was arrested in Mombasa two days after the body of Tirop was discovered in her house.

Police said he was trying to flee the country.

The court was expected to start hearing the case earlier this year, but due to what was described as legal technicalities, the proceedings did not start.

Already state counsels have objected to the release of Rotich on bond, claiming there was overwhelming evidence connecting him to the murder. They argue he would interfere with witnesses if he is freed.

The bond hearing was first adjourned on December 15, when prosecutors objected to the release of the suspect.

The matter was again adjourned on March 9. The court then said a ruling on bond would be made on April 1 and now has been adjourned to May 4.

The judge had directed in December that probation officers prepare a pre-bail report to help in determining whether Rotich should be released on bond.

Prosecutors also told the court that Rotich had threatened to take his own life before he was arrested and they feared he would do it if released.

At the same time, due a dispute over property owned by the deceased, the court issued an interim order to the family of the late Tirop to take custody of her property until the matter is determined. The athlete’s father, Vincent Tirop, was appointed as temporary administrator of the property.

Tirop featured last in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, taking part in the 5,000m, where she finished fourth in the final.

Tirop, the 2015 World Cross Country champion, was found dead in her Iten home on October 13.