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How police netted Jowie and unravelled Monica murder mystery

Joseph Irungu alias Jowie at Milimani court on Friday, February 09, 2024, when Justice Grace Nzioka delivered her judgement in the murder case of businesswoman Monica Kimani. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

CCTV footage, forensic investigations and information provided by family and friends of murdered businesswoman Monica Kimani helped the police to unravel the murder mystery, according to investigators.

Former Kilimani DCI boss Fatuma Hadi, now Kilifi police chief, told The Standard that what was initially a complex murder case opened up when the police received crucial information from forensic reports and witnesses.

Ms Kimani’s lifeless body was found in her apartment in Nairobi’s Kilimani estate in September 2018. This was after family members informed the police in Kilimani that they had been trying to reach her on the phone but in vain.

A neighbour, a Lebanese national, had earlier visited Kimani but could not access her house as it was locked.

The neighbour knew Kimani loved baked bread and had made it a habit to share breakfast with her.

On the fateful day, the neighbour left the bread outside her door after he failed to reach her on the phone. There was no response from her house, Fatuma recalls.

The late Monica Kimani.

Police retrieved CCTV footage that revealed events at Kimani’s house on the fateful night.

After examining the footage, the police were able to identify Jowie from the images, Fatuma told The Saturday Standard yesterday.

The police launched the hunt for the man to find the clothes he wore on that night. At the house in Lang'ata, police recovered the partly burnt clothes. The clothes were subjected to DNA tests at the DCI forensic lab and government lab. The investigators were looking for DNA traces and blood samples that would possibly connect Jowie to the murder, which the police now say they did.

The last piece of evidence that the police sought to link Jowie to the murder was his call data and his exact position on the night of the murder. An analysis of Jowie's phone placed him at Lamuria apartments, the scene of the gruesome killing, on the day Ms Kimani was killed.

Further scrutiny by the team of investigators of visitors' records held by security guards at the Lamuria apartments yielded more clues that were relevant to the investigations.

This, coupled with the details provided by the family gave the investigators the images and details of Joseph Irungu, alias Jowie, who was yesterday found guilty of murder by High Court judge Grace Nzioka.

Justice Nzioka, in a judgment delivered, said the prosecution had proved beyond reasonable doubt that Irungu was directly linked to the murder.

"All this evidence leaves a strong conclusion that Irungu murdered Monica Kimani," she said, adding: "The person who killed the deceased did not intend to give her even one minute to survive. It is my considered opinion and finding that the perpetrator intended instant death."

After getting CCTV footage and corroboration from the people who had interacted with Kimani before her murder, investigators in Kilimani swung into action and stormed the house in Langata where Jowie lived with his fiancée Jackie Maribe.

Here, the investigators said, they were lucky to find the partly destroyed clothes that Jowie wore on the night he was last seen at Kimani’s home.

 Joseph Kuria Irungu aka Jowie.

Also, the investigators were able to get corroboration from the man whose gun was used in the murder of Kimani.

Together with the testimony of the people who were present at Kimani's house, it was evident that Jowie was involved in the murder.

Police said Maribe, who was exonerated by the court, did not provide the much-needed information despite persuasion by the investigators.

During the proceedings, senior State Prosecutor Wangui Gichuhi told the court that the prosecution had proved beyond a reasonable doubt, through evidence backed up by witness testimonies, that Jowie and Maribe killed the businesswoman on September 19, 2018.

"We are asking the court to find that the two have a case to answer and place them on their defence. The evidence proves they jointly had a common intention to kill Ms Kimani after which they engaged in an elaborate plan to cover up the murder," said Gichuhi.

Gichuhi singled out five issues to convince the court that the two caused Kimani's death, had a common intention to kill and were positively identified by witnesses.

She submitted that Jowie was positively identified by several witnesses as the last person seen at Kimani's house. This was confirmed by DNA analysis of blood samples from his shorts.

Further, she stated that Ms Maribe, who at the time was dating Jowie, was aware of the killing. She gave him a vehicle to use in the murder before trying to conceal the crime by lying to the police and burning clothes to destroy evidence.

According to the prosecution, Maribe conspired with Jowie to create a false narrative that they had been attacked by robbers while entering their house at Royal Park Estate in Lang'ata when Jowie had shot himself to cover up his actions.

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