Family wants State to reveal killer British soldier who took their girl

Agnes Wanjiru's brother Joseph Maina Mwangi by her gravesite in Nanyuki Cemetery, November 3, 2021. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

The family of a woman allegedly killed by a British soldier has sued the government and the British Army to lift the veil on the identity of the person behind the heinous act 11 years ago.

In the case before the High Court in Nairobi, Agnes Wanjiru's family believes the Kenyan government and the British administration have been deliberately concealing the name of the perpetrator.

They also accuse the Directorate of Criminal Investigations of sidelining them in the investigations and failing to disclose information that would enable Wanjiru's family seek justice and bring the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) soldier to book.

Wanjiru's family wants the British government to extradite the officer to Kenya to face murder charges. The case has been filed by Wanjiru's sister Rose Wanyua alongside a human rights group African Centre For Corrective And Preventive Action.

Wanyua's lawyer Mbiyu Kamau argues that it is unfair for the Kenya and British governments to keep the family in the cold without knowing whether Wanjiru's killer will finally face the law or whether her 11-year-old daughter will be compensated for the injustice she has suffered.

Extradite suspects

"The decision not to prosecute, extradite the suspects, and or release information uncovered during investigation of the deceased's murder to the first petitioner to pursue other avenues of justice for such a long period of time is a gross violation of the 1st petitioner's right to fair administrative action.

Wanjiru's body was discovered in the Lion Court Hotel's Septic Tank on June 2012. However, investigations took around five years before their findings were sent to the Director of Public Prosecution.

The DPP in 2013 recommended an inquest 22 months after he received the file. On November 5, 2019, the magistrate's court found that Wanjiru was murdered.

Killer soldier

Two years later, a UK paper, Sunday Times, revealed that the identity of the killer soldier was known by UK authorities. Her family now says there was a possible cover-up.

"Despite the findings of the inquest and the Sunday Times newspaper report, the respondents have failed to notify the late Agnes Wanjiru's family of the status of their investigations and possible prosecution," Kamau argues.

The lawyer says the British High Commission, the Minister for Defence in the UK had given their commitment to cooperate and ensure justice was served.

However, no one has been charged in Kenya or in the UK. He accuses Kenyan and British authorities of stifling the wheels of justice and blocking the family from pursuing the killer through private prosecution.

Wanyua says she has repeatedly sought information on the investigation into her sister's death and if the person behind it will be brought to book. "At the time of her murder, the Late Agnes Wanjiru left a 5-month-old baby who is now aged 11 and is yet to know of what befell her mother," says Wanyua.