Kerugoya court sentences two robbers to hang

Peter Kariuki (face veiled) escorted out of court after sentencing. He and Charles Mwangi were sentenced to death for kidnapping, robbing and killing a kirinyaga trader. [Munene Kamau, Standard]
A Kerugoya court has sentenced to death two of seven suspects charged with kidnapping and subsequently killing a Kirinyaga trader.

Peter Kariuki and Charles Mwangi were yesterday sentenced by Chief Magistrate Samuel Soita after a close to six years trial.

John Thuku and Blasio Kaburi were acquitted for "lack of evidence directly linking them to the offenses".

Amos Karani, Ladia Njoki and Rachel Wambui were found guilty of being proxies to the abduction and subsequent killing of the trader Cyrus Munene, and his night guard Muriithi Mugwanja.

The court had earlier on heard how an eighth suspect Stella Wangechi who was on the run was found murdered and her body dumped near a disused house in Mwea.

She was being sought by the police after it was established that she owned a house where Munene was confined upon the kidnap.

They had been jointly charged that on October 14, 2013 within Kerugoya Township Municipality Academy and while armed with pangas, rungus and metal bars, robbed the trader of his vehicle, a mobile phone all valued at Sh754,000 and during the  robbery killed Mugwanja before fleeing with Munene in his car.

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Kariuki and Mwangi faced a separate charge of demanding with menaces Sh1million ransom from Mrs Muthoni Munene on the same date.

Muthoni in her evidence told the court how she sent Sh400,000 to the kidnapers through her mobile phone.

“I pleaded with the kidnappers not to kill my husband since I had partially paid the Sh1million ransom they were demanding and was working against time to raise the balance,” she testified.

The court also heard how special crime prevention police pounced on Kariuki and Thuku while withdrawing part of the ransom money from an Mpesa outlet in Gikomba, Nairobi County following a phone signal lead.

While condemning to death Kariuki and Mwangi, the court said there was no doubt the two shared the ransom from Munene’s family as put by prosecutor David Sitati.

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KerugoyaKirinyaga trader