A teenage mother, who killed her eight-year-old step-child, for losing money she had sent her to buy maize flour will serve three years’ probation.
High Court judge James Wakiaga, while passing the judgment, noted that this was the only money that Josephine Muhatia, the accused, had to buy food, and equated her plight to that of the poor widow in the Bible who had only a little flour left in her jar.
The deceased was Muhatia's husband's child from another marriage. When she committed the crime, Muhatia had her own two-year-old child.
Muhatia sent the eight-year-old boy to the shop to buy the flour on April 10, 2014 but on the way he lost the money.
She was informed about the loss by a neighbour.
Out of frustration, she threw a knife that she was using to cut vegetables at the child, injuring him. He died in the hospital while undergoing treatment.
Muhatia dropped out of school in class seven. Afterwards, a man came by and promised her a good life and she married him as a second wife.
The teenage girl's husband then took her from the village to Nairobi where he dumped her, leaving her to toil for the two children and also raise money for rent.
The judge noted: "The accused's actions here are as a result of breakdown in our social values and social support and networks. She dropped out of school in class seven, cohabited with a man who offered her very minimal support in addition to burdening her with the care of his eight-year-old child from a previous marriage.
He added: "She was married as a second wife. The said husband has since disappeared and her mother's whereabouts are unknown while her father is of very little help. It is therefore this background that should be blamed for the commission of the offence herein.
"I therefore find and hold that the accused should benefit from non-custodial sentence during which she shall go through rehabilitation to enable her reform and become a better person," ruled Justice Wakiaga.
Muhatia had been charged with murder but agreed to a deal to plead guilty for manslaughter with the prosecution. She told the court that she never intended to kill her step-child and that her angry reaction was as a result of trauma and financial challenges.
Siaya Girls Probation Hostel offered to take care of Muhatia and her child and to offer her life skills and a course on hair dressing.