Nyeri woman who killed foster mother convicted

Benedict Njoki admitted having a grudge against Wangari for other reasons other than the adoption issue, but refused to reveal them. [Courtesy]
A woman who killed her foster mother by stabbing her 42 times has been convicted by the High Court in Nyeri.

Benedict Njoki Gachinga, 33, attacked her adopted mother, Esther Wangari Kanuri, 64, at Kihuyo village after getting bitter when she discovered Ms Wangari was not her biological mother.

Yesterday, Justice Abigael Mshilla found Ms Njoki guilty of murder. Njoki is seven months pregnant.

Mshilla noted that the prosecution has proved its case, especially taking into account the testimony of two key witnesses - the deceased’s husband Micheal Kanuri and the house help.

“Their testimonies squarely puts the accused at the scene of the crime,” Mshilla said.

“Considering the incident happened between 6.00 and 6.30 pm, the circumstances were favourable for the accused to be identified.”

He noted that malice had been proved given that Njoki stabbed her foster mother 42 times.

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“This, coupled with the fact that Njoki targeted soft tissues of the body, is clear demonstration of her intention to kill Wangari,” Mshilla said.

The judge observed that the accused appeared not to have been bothered that the injuries she inflicted on her foster mother could result to death.

 “The nature of the injuries and body parts targeted paint a picture of a well calculated plan by the accused to kill her foster mother,” Mshilla said.

Text messages said to have been sent by Njoki to her foster parents, threatening to kill them, were however dismissed by the court.

Drug addict

They were found not to have been supported by data from a mobile service provider.

Earlier on, Njoki, the court had heard, was addicted to drugs such as bhang and was abusing  alcohol.

She was said to have been an undisciplined girl since her school days.

While defending herself, Njoki said she discovered Wangari was not her biological mother after snooping into a cabinet that was always locked, and found documents that confirmed her fears.

“I was 14 then and I told my brother that we are adopted children,” Njoki said.

“I became confused and escaped from home for one month to look for my biological mother, but I later returned.”

She admitted having a grudge against Wangari for other reasons other than the adoption issue, but refused to reveal them.

While being cross-examined by lawyer Gitonga Muthee who was representing the deceased’s family, Njoki admitted that she became errant after completing primary school education in 2001.

Her foster father, Mr Kanuri, testified that on the day the crime happened, he went to his farm leaving Njoki, Wangari and their grand-daughter in the house. When he came back, he found Wangari lying dead in Njoki’s bedroom.

He said Njoki later surrendered to police, but she denied surrendering or confessing about the murder.

In her mitigation, through her lawyer Njuguna Kimani, the accused who is a mother of one, pleaded with the court not to sentence her to death since she was seven months expectant, and had a terminal disease.

Njoki will be sentenced on July 4.

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Benedict Njoki GachingaNyeri CountyEsther Wangari KanuriJustice Abigael Mshilla