Man gets 25 years for rape, murder

The five suspects linked to sexual assault and murder of an epileptic woman at Osajai Centre in Teso North on July 21, 2018, in court on January 21, 2019. [Ignatius Odanga/Standard]

A Busia court has sentenced a man accused of raping and killing a woman to 25 years in prison after he pleaded guilty.

Felix Ekarot is said to have raped and killed Loreta Akiru in Osajai, Teso North Constituency, on July 22, 2018.

Ekarot had been charged alongside Philip Etyang, Silas Nyongesa, Martin Ojuma and Ezekiel Ekirapa.

The four are still being held awaiting sentencing.

Ekarot, who had first been charged with murder, had the charge reduced to manslaughter after he entered into a plea bargain agreement.

“The accused person entered into a plea agreement and pleaded guilty voluntarily," said Justice Kiarie Waweru.

"I sentence him to serve 25 years in prison.”  Ekarot was given 14 days to file an appeal.

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Last year, Akiru's relatives told the court that their kin, who suffered from epilepsy and paralysis, was first threatened by some youth at her shop in Osajai Centre.

The youth are said to have confronted Akiru, asking her why she was not married and never liked to associate with men.

Akiru's body was later found behind the shop.

Her uncle, Daniel Papa, told the court that his niece’s body had marks on the neck, a clear indicator that she was strangled.

“My niece told me that the youth, some who are also our relatives, said they would teach her a lesson because she was aging and still refused to associate with men,” Mr Papa told the court.

Another uncle, Andrew Ipara, told Justice Kiarie that Akiru had chosen to stay alone and avoided marriage because of her illness.

Following the murder, police first arrested 12 suspects as they continued with investigations.

But later, only five were found to have a case to answer.

The four who are yet to be sentenced - Etyang, Nyongesa, Ojuma and Ekirapa - will know their fate later.

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Busia court