Death row for beauty queen who killed lover

The winner of a beauty pageant at the Lang'ata Women's Prison has been sentenced to death for killing her boyfriend.

The High Court yesterday condemned Ruth Kamande to death row for killing Farid Mohammed, 24, in 2015.

Justice Jessie Lesiit found that Ms Kamande drew pleasure from stabbing her boyfriend 25 times and was not apologetic, even in court.

The judge observed that the sentence should serve as a lesson for young people who take revenge.

“I want young people to know that it is not cool to kill your boyfriend when frustrated. Instead, it is cool to walk away and forgive. The only deserving sentence is death,” said Ms Lesiit.

Kamande had pleaded for a more lenient sentence, telling the court she had changed by becoming a prayerful Muslim and even enrolled for an IT degree at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

A probation report also showed she was a first offender and a well-behaved inmate.

Ruth Wanjiku Kamande in the dock at the Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi yesterday. [George Njunge, Standard]
But the judge painted the 24-year-old woman as a control freak who swapped Mr Mohammed's SIM card with hers so she could know who he communicated with. And when she found love letters from his former girlfriend, the judge said, her mistrust exploded.

“The accused was manipulative. There is no doubt that she was not remorseful for her action even in court.”

Before the judge read the verdict, a smiling Kamande, wearing a pink trench coat, a brown blouse and grey trousers, mingled freely with prison officers.

She also engaged her lawyer in brief conversations. And when the time came for her to learn her fate, she leaned on the dock with her right hand and bit into her lips twice.

Kamande's face turned pale as the judge's words slowly sank in, with her eyes showing her disappointment.

Seated in the courtroom was Mohammed's aunt, Emma Wanjiku, who could not hold back tears as the judge pronounced that her nephew was killed in cold blood.

Outside the court, a still teary Ms Wanjiku said justice had been served following the court's ruling that Kamande should die for her actions.

"This was an on-and-off relationship and she was jealous. She had said she would kill him and she went ahead to bring a knife. There is justice in Kenya,” said Wanjiku.

Kamande put up a spirited fight for her freedom, telling the judge that her boyfriend had raped her despite knowing that he was HIV-positive, before attempting to kill her.

According to the prison beauty queen, she had found Mohammed with a yellow card from the Aids control programme showing that he was receiving treatment for the disease.

Unprotected sex

The court heard that on the night before the murder, Mohammed had forced her to have sex without protection. She said after confronting him, he attempted to kill her and that was when she stabbed him.

“Farid told me that he would rather kill me and himself than have his status exposed because I realised he was HIV-positive. I stabbed him several times using a kitchen knife, which fell on my chest from his hands after I overpowered him by putting my two thumbs in his eyes to save my life,” she said.

"Your honour, it pained me to know that the person who l loved and trusted so much would ruin my life by infecting me with HIV and Aids.”

But a medical report produced in court showed that she had not been raped.

The judge ruled that the rape allegation was an afterthought.

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ruth kamandedeath penaltydomestic row