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Mystery of woman’s death that police can’t unravel

By | February 24th 2010

By Wairimu Kamande

It was a mysterious death and the pursuit for the killers appears to be turning elusive.

Some say the elderly woman died as a result of a road accident, but others claim she was murdered.
Seven months after Hannah Wangari Thuita’s death in July at Makuyu, no suspects have been arrested. The death has brought conflict within the family.
Her son, Benson Kamau, recalls how he received a call from his relative at around 6.30am informing him of his mother’s death after she was allegedly accidentally run over her with a vehicle earlier that morning.

Benson Kamau, son to Hannah Wangari who died in unclear circumstances. Her family is demanding thorough investigations.

"The news was actually not meant for me. It was intended for someone whom we share a name. It left me shocked because I wondered what my mother could have been doing outside at the time she was said to have been run over," recalls Kamau.
The 29-year-old man says his relative advised him to wait at Bishop Okoye Mortuary, Thika, as they left Makuyu where his mother lived.
The caller and other relatives intended to book the body there. They were accompanied by two policemen.

One of the relatives gave him money to book the body in the mortuary in his name. The police officers were not willing to sign anywhere that they had brought the body.
Kamau noted that his mother was neatly dressed and had no bloodstains on her clothing as is usual with most accident victims.
In a letter to several senior police officers, his elder brother Alex Ng’ang’a, who lived with his mother, says that on the night of July 9, last year, his mother wore a black skirt and a brown blouse. But on the grounds where she lay on the morning of July 10, she was in a clean, blue skirt suit. In addition, he says the blouse was worn inside out.

No bloodstains

Moreover, the clothes were spotless, with no bloodstains, dust or any tyre marks.
He says moments before a relative exclaimed that his mother was dead, he had asked him and other relatives to help him start a vehicle by pushing it. His mother was not among those pushing.
"He woke me up at around 4am and asked me to help him push the vehicle. I called another relative and by then he had already called his sister. We helped him start it. Moments after the vehicle moved, I heard a relative shout ‘open the door for me!’ But since it was still dark, I could not see who it was," he recalls.

"I then heard that relative shouting: ‘Come, come and see what your mother has done to herself.’ I rushed out only to find my mother already dead. I was shocked and left in a trance," he says.
The said relative instructed him to summon police officers and report that a woman had been run over by a vehicle.

Police came and removed the body but Ng’ang’a they did not take details about the scene of the accident.
Kamau says a post-mortem examination by a police pathologist was conducted but the cause of Wangari’s death was not revealed.

The pathologist recommended further investigations.

Hannah Wangari

Photo/ Wairimu Kamande/Standard

Later, Kamau says the family sought a private pathologist who conducted a second post-mortem in the presence of the police doctor.
The doctor’s report concluded that injuries on Wangari’s body were not consistent with a road accident.
She bore multiple rib fractures, a fracture of the right femur and a compound fracture on the pelvic bone. She had bruises on temporal regions, thighs and right knee.

The doctor concluded she died of massive chest bleeding due to torn lungs as a result of broken ribs.
However, the relative has denied causing the death of the woman deliberately. He says pathologists concluded that the woman died following a traffic accident.

Malicious people

But he does not have a copy of the report.
The relative says he had asked Ng’ang’a and the others to help him push a vehicle. But after pushing it for about 100 metres, he realised the rear wheels had run over something. When he checked, he discovered that the vehicle had run over Wangari. He says he suspects she was hanging on the vehicle and then fell.
"These are malicious people who wanted to claim compensation from the insurance," he said.
Asked why police have delayed establishing the cause of Wangari’s death, Murang’a South OCPD, Anthony Onyango says investigations were launched last year.

"We forwarded the files to the AG but are yet to get directions. That is why we have not arrested anybody," he said calling on Wangari’s family to be patient.
"We have pursued the matter for so long but nothing seems to be happening. Justice seems to have eluded us," laments Kamau.
"What the family needs is not money," says Kamau. " We need justice," he concludes.

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