How police bungled investigations to nail suspects in murder of two students

Nyeri High Court judge Jairus Ngaah has revealed how bungled investigations by police failed to nail persons responsible for the death of two students in dormitory fire 10 years ago.

In his one-hour ruling acquitting 15 suspects, including 11 former students at Endarasha Boys High School, Ngaah said investigation officer Reuben Kirui failed to link any of the accused to the murder of Kennedy Karogo and Joseph Mwangi after a dormitory was burnt down on October 17, 2010.

The former students were identified as Oby Oyugi, Derrick Wambugu, Davin Ndungu, Andrew Kandia, Edward Karugu, Stephen Ndirangu, Wilson Mwaura, Ayub Kungu, Kevin Muya and Gerishon Mwangi. 

Other suspects were Fredrick Githinji and Stephen Mwaniki. The 15 were facing two murder counts for the two who were in Form One at the time. 

Although the deceased were undoubtedly proven to have perished in the inferno, the judge said none of the prosecution's witnesses testified seeing any of the accused setting the building on fire.

The circumstantial evidence presented against the accused persons was also insufficient to prove the murder charges.

Ngaah said police ignored crucial evidence of secret notes written by anonymous students narrating the events of the night when the dormitory christened Fr Wambugu was burnt down. The dormitory housed 180 Form One students.

He cited testimonies by the then school principal Raban Mugwanja and his teachers indicating that students were interrogated and asked to write anonymous notes.

“The closest the witnesses came to link the accused with arson was secret notes written by anonymous students on the events of the fateful day,” said the judge.

In the secret notes, the principal and the teachers who testified, said nine students - all in Form One, were mentioned and the names presented to the police.