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Njeri’s killer is ‘fit to stand murder trial’

COAST
By Paul Gitau | March 20th 2015

LAMU: Relatives of the late Margaret Njeri Njuguna wept openly in a Malindi court Thursday when they set their eyes on the police officer charged with killing her on January 17 this year.

Mohamed Salim, an officer based in Mpeketoni, Lamu till January, was brought to the High Court in Malindi and charged with murder.

His trial was delayed last week when Justice Said Chitembwe ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he was mentally fit to stand for murder trial.

Thursday, a report from a psychiatrist at Coast General Hospital in Mombasa certified him to be mentally fit to stand the trial.

TEARS FLOWED

In a brief court appearance Mohamed, who was transferred to Kizingitini on Pate Island after the alleged accident leading to Margaret’s death pleaded “not guilty” when the murder charge was read out to him by the court clerk.

Police claim Mohamed hit Margaret with his gun on January 17, injuring her skull and causing her to lapse into coma until she died at Pandya Memorial Hospital in Mombasa.

When the murder charge was read out, a grim-faced Mohamed stood, emotionless, in the dock, avoiding eye contact with Margaret’s mother Miriam Njeri Njuguna and the deceased’s aunt Grace Wangare who broke down in tears at the mention of the suspect’s name.

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The Standard established that the prosecution has eight witnesses, including three police officers, lined against the suspect who surrendered to Malindi CID officers on Thursday last week.

Thursday, Assistant Director of Prosecution Vincent Monda appealed to the the judge not to free the suspect on bond arguing Mohamed was likely to flee justice due to the grave charge facing him.

Monda claimed Mohamed fled his post in Kizingitini after learning that Margaret, who had been in coma since mid-January, had died.

FLIGHT RISK

Monda also argued that Mohamed should be placed in protective custody for his own safety because “the deceased’s relatives are baying for his blood” but the suspect’s lawyer James Muoki opposed Monda’s application against bond.

Muoki denied claims that his client went into hiding after learning of Margaret’s death and applied for his release on bail.

“My client had not gone into hiding. He was unwell and immediately he recovered he voluntarily presented himself at the CID offices in Malindi,” Muoki said and presented a medical report to prove his claims.

Justice Chitembwe will rule on the bail matter later on Thursday next week.

During her funeral attended by hundreds of residents and the county leadership led by Governor Issa Timamy, he thanked the residents for keeping peace and said that as county leaders, they will push for justice.

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