Ngugi’s attackers sentenced to hang

Busia

By Judy Ogutu

Three men who attacked writer Ngugi wa Thiong’o and his wife, Njeeri, eight years ago have been sentenced to hang.

Two High Court judges upheld the conviction of Elias Sikuku Wanjala, Peter Mulati Wafula and Richard Kayago Maeta.

The three were in December 2006 convicted of violent robbery and sentenced to death by hanging. Wafula was also found guilty of sexually assaulting Njeeri and sentenced to serve 21 years behind bars.

The former guards, who had been deployed at Norfolk Apartments, attacked the couple on the nights of August 11 and 12, 2004, while armed with two pistols, one machete and a bolt cutter.

The three robbed Ngugi of a laptop, a bag and a gold wedding ring valued at $3,500 (Sh297,500) at the apartments. They also robbed Njeeri of Sh34,000 in various currencies and three rings valued at $1,660 (Sh141,100).

The three had been charged together with John Kiragu Chege, but he was acquitted of all the charges. They then lodged an appeal to challenge Magistrate Julie Oseko’s decision.

Wanjala argued that the trial magistrate erred in law and fact when she convicted him upon relying on the evidence of a single identifying witness. Wafula stated that he was convicted on inaccurate visual identification and that no evidence of DNA or sexual assault was tendered to warrant his conviction.

Questioned evidence

On his part, Maeta faulted the circumstances in which he was identified. In his view, questionable evidence was relied upon to secure his conviction when there was no evidence to link him to the crime.

On Tuesday, judges Fred Ochieng’ and Lydia Achode agreed with the magistrate’s finding that the defence mounted by the three "were mere afterthoughts".

The judges also said they were satisfied that the evidence of identification in respect of each appellant was sound and that the identification parade was conducted in accordance with rules and procedures.

"We also find the ingredients of the charges brought against each of the appellants were proved to the required standard. Each appellant was properly convicted," they ruled.