Activist died from excessive bleeding after multiple stabs, court told

Slain human rights defender Elizabeth Ekaru. [File, Standard]

A pathologist has told the High Court in Meru that slain human rights defender Elizabeth Ekaru died from excessive bleeding after multiple stabs.

Dr Mohamed Abdikadir was giving evidence before Justice Edward Muriithi in the case where Mr Patrick Naweet is accused of killing Ms Ekaru on January 3, 2022 at Kambi Garba in Isiolo County.

Ekaru,48, and Naweet had been embroiled in a dispute and elders were set to step in and help them resolve the matter before the the former was killed.

On Monday, Dr Andikadir who performed a postmortem on the victim's body at St Theresa's Mission Hospital Kiirua in Meru on January 6 last year, said Ekaru had deep stab wounds on the back, thighs, and hands.

Abdikadir told the court her found stab wounds as deep as 21 centimeters on Ekaru's body.

"She had wounds on several parts of her body. She sustained multiple wounds that severed major blood vessels and that caused her death," the medic said.

He said as a result of the serious injuries she suffered, Ekaru died within 10 minutes.

He also collected samples for DNA analysis, with the government analyst lined up to testify in the court on September 18 this year.

Another witness, DCI officer Vincent Machua, told the court he and another officer visited the scene of the crime where he gathered evidence.

He said they went to Kambi Garba, on the Isiolo-Marsabit highway, the where Mr Naweet was rescued from a mob that was baying for his blood after the attack on Ekaru.

Activists outside the High Court in Meru on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 for the hearing of the murder case of human rights defender Elizabeth Ekaru who was based in Isiolo County. [File, Standard]

Naweet suffered injuries after being stoned and beaten by residents who were angered by the woman's killing.

Earlier, the court had heard that Naweet lured Ekaru to the disputed parcel and attacked her.

Mr Machua said he found the alleged murder weapon, a knife, in a thicket nearby. "We were told it was the knife used to stab the deceased," he said.

The officer said Naweet, who was represented by lawyer Hillary Sandi, was found unconscious after the mob beat him up and was taken to Isiolo Level Five hospital.

Part of gathering evidence was taking photos of the scene and the body.

Machua said there were also stab wounds on Ekaru's left leg, back, thighs, right forearm, between her thumb and forefinger.

She suffered the injuries on her hand as she tried to defend herself, the court heard.

Principal Prosecution Counsel Eric Masila told Justice Muriithi he had two more witnesses, an investigating officer and a government analyst.

Defenders Coalition lawyer Zaina Kombu said they were satisfied with the pace of the case, now that there were only two remaining witnesses.

Justice Muriithi set September 18 as the date for the hearing will resume.