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Public, media kicked out of court during Syombua murder trial

 Major Peter Mugure when he appeared before Nanyuki Chief Magistrate Lucy Mutai, November 18, 2019. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Five witnesses Wednesday took the stand to testify in the ongoing murder trial of former military man Peter Mugure.

Mugure is accused of killing his wife Joyce Syombua and two children at the Laikipia Airbase in 2019. 

The witnesses took the stand in a packed courtroom as the public and media sat to listen into the proceedings with the exception of one Major Fredrick Laja whose testimony was heard in camera by Justice Martin Muya.

Justice Muya allowed an application by the prosecution to have the testimony of Major Laja be heard privately because what he said would compromise the security of the Laikipia Airbase. 

After the closed-door testimony of Major Laja, the second witness David Mwangi a hotel manager from  Kirimara Springs explained to the court how he encountered the accused person having a meal at a hotel.

Mwangi said he recognised the accused after watching the news on a case of a missing person and the accused was alleged to be the main suspect.

He told the court that while at his job he served Mugure and he paid the bill via mobile money transfer and produced a receipt dated October 26, 2019.

The third witness Joseph Njoroge Kiama a PSV driver narrated to the court how he found a touchscreen mobile phone in his vehicle on October 26, 2019, as he drove from Nanyuki to Nyahururu.

After the passengers had all alighted from the vehicle at Nyahururu bus terminal, he proceeded to close the safety belts where he found a mobile phone.

“I took the phone to the Sacco 4NTE office at Nanyuki and recorded with the deputy in charge Mr Wahome Ndirangu,” he said.

The court heard from the fourth witness Wahome Ndirangu 4NTE deputy in charge at Nanyuki office on the same day about how he received a phone, from the driver Njoroge who had picked it up from vehicle Registration number KCW 744 that he was driving from Nanyuki to Nyahururu.

“The phone was ringing but I was not able to pick it up, and I charged the device to avoid switching it off as I waited for the owner to claim it,” Ndirangu told the court.

Later he obtained the number from the phone in question and dialled the number to inform the owner of where to pick up the phone for recovery.

Ndirangu said on October 29, 2019, a police officer came and informed him that the owner of the phone is missing and he is required to report to the police station together with the driver who collected the phone.

The fifth witness Duncan Muchemi Wachira, the Assistant Chief Thingithu area in Nanyuki, told the court that on November 16, 2019, at 4.30 pm as he was at home watching the news.

He saw an incident that was happening in his area of jurisdiction at Thingithu public cemetery, he rushed to the scene and found four police officers exhuming the bodies from a shallow grave.

“I saw three gunny bags one bigger than the other two smaller in different sizes, which were rotten and were taken by the police to Nanyuki referral hospital Mortuary,” he said.

The prosecution led by prosecutor Mwangi Gachanja requested to bring more witnesses to the court.

The case will be heard on March 14, 2023.

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