A man set his mother’s house ablaze, killing his nephew, a court was told yesterday.
Chief Inspector Fanuel Chacha said that after the March 7, 2014 incident, Francis Adega, who has been charged with murder, went missing for four months until investigators finally arrested him.
Adega has been charged with the murder of his brother’s son, seven-year-old Alflix Keyombo, who died at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Hospital in Kisumu while undergoing specialised treatment for 40 per cent degree burns.
Justice Jesse Njagi heard that on the material day, Adega, who lived with his mother in Mudete village, Vihiga, lit the fire at 10pm when he came home drunk. Keyombo, his sister, Modesta Ijana, and Adega’s mother, Priscilla Janilla Kiome, were in the house.
In her initial statement to police, Ms Kiome, 69, said she saw Adega pour paraffin on the door and window but she managed to escape unhurt.
Her screams woke up neighbours, who came to the rescue of the children trapped in the house. The injured siblings were taken to Mbale Hospital.
“The woman came and reported the matter and I recorded her statement. The suspect went into hiding from March until July 5, 2014, when we were informed that he had been spotted in a neighbouring village. We went and arrested him,” said Mr Chacha, who was then the deputy OCS at Mudete Police Station.
Justice Njagi heard that Adega was first charged with arson at the Hamisi Law Courts in Vihiga. But after Keyombo’s death, he was charged with murder.
“One of the children died and was buried without our knowledge. We exhumed the body on April 4, 2015, a year after he died, to facilitate the mandatory postmortem so the accused could be charged with murder and stay the arson charges,” said Chacha, who is the OCS at Nandi Hills Police Station.
Wycliffe Nandiema, Keyombo’s father, had earlier testified that the children used to spend the night in their grandmother’s house.
Kiome was declared a hostile witness after she disowned her statement and instead told the court that Adega was in Kisumu at the time of the fire.
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