Court finds US-based Kenyan woman guilty of husband’s murder
A US-based Kenyan businesswoman has been found guilty of shooting and killing her husband three years ago.
Sheila Wanjiku was charged with murdering Leonard Kibinge on April 15, 2014 at Gitaru village, Kikuyu constituency.
Justice Jessie Lesiit on Monday found her guilty of pre-meditated murder.
Lessit pointed out there was no direct evidence linking her to the murder as the weapon used in the crime was never recovered.
But she said circumstantial evidence and inconsistencies in Wanjiku’s account of events were her undoing.
The judge held that the woman’s innocence was not sufficiently proven.
“The murder weapon was not recovered and produced in court. Failure to do so was, however, not fatal to the prosecution’s case as police were not at the scene during the incident and the accused had time to dispose of the weapon.”
Wanjiku had claimed she and her husband were kidnapped that night and that it was the kidnappers who killed Kibinge.
In her testimony, the woman said she walked away when she heard a blast before their car crashed into a fence.
Wanjiku said she did not check on her husband who was driving the car before it crashed, a fact which the judge faulted.
Lessit said she found it interesting that after the incident, Wanjiku bypassed Kikuyu police station – a stone’s throw distance from the purported crime scene.
She opted to report the ‘kidnapping’ at Central police station in Nairobi.
“The accused by-passed Kikuyu police station and other nearer stations to go report the alleged kidnapping at Central…this was just an attempt to buy time so as to delay the process of investigations that she knew would follow.”
‘SUSPECT CALM AND COLLECTED’
Witness testimonies show Wanjiku changed her clothes several times from the time of the incident to that of reporting it to police.
Witnesses told the court she appeared calm and collected after the incident and that she did not seem to have been shaken by it.
The woman claimed she came to Kenya to process a visa for her husband so that they could relocate to the US.
She told the court she came to the country through Uganda but the court found there was not point of entry stamp in her passport as required by law.
Wanjiku had also claimed she travelled from Uganda to Kenya using Mash bus but did not produce a ticket to back up the claim.
But a taxi driver who drove her from Kikuyu police station said the accused appeared shaken and disturbed.
He said he heard a click under the Buibui she was wearing adding that this terrified him so much.
After dropping her at Central, the witness said he went straight to Kikuyu and reported that he may have transported a woman with a bomb.
“The accused explained that the click was the buckle of her belt as she counted coins to pay him,” the judge said.
Lesiit further said Wanjiku’s explanation that she was sleeping when the vehicle veered off the road does not state her indifference to the deceased.
“I also considered the evidence of two witnesses who lived near the fence the deceased crashed into,” the judge said.
“The witnesses said they heard three loud blasts and there is no way the accused can feign ignorance that three gunshots were fired since she was seated right next to her husband at the time.”
The judge also said she considered the evidence of the prosecution witness who was the first to see Wanjiku after she left the vehicle.
The witness said she was calm and collected.
“That is someone who was not affected by what had just happened…I find that the accused’s conduct after the shooting was the conduct of someone with a guilty mind.”
Wanjiku’s defence team requested time to mitigate.