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Nairobi tout gets death penalty for killing infant

NAIROBI
By Fred Makana | July 18th 2016
Peter Mwangi who was sentenced to death for killing an infant in Kiangombe village, Embakasi. [PHOTO: GEORGE NJUNGE/STANDARD]

KENYA: A tout who murdered a four-month-old girl and dumped her body in a pit latrine is on death row after being convicted.

The child's only "crime" was that her mother had conceived her from a previous relationship.

Peter Kinyua Mwangi was sentenced to hang on February 26, 2015, for killing the infant whose mother was his lover. He was cohabiting with the child's mother, Monica Wanjiku, at the time.

In her testimony, Ms Wanjiku said she had known Mwangi for three months before she delivered her baby.

On the night of April 22, 2009, in Kiangombe village in Embakasi, Nairobi County, Mwangi strangled the child, placed her on the bed and then pushed Wanjiku to the bed. However, Wanjiku managed to free herself. In anger, the accused hit the baby, who died. He then dumped her body in a pit latrine.

"He implored her to forget about the baby because they could have their own later. He even invited her to go back to bed," the prosecution told the court.

Wanjiku screamed for help but neighbours did not make it in time to rescue the child.

The High Court judge at the time, Nicholas Ombija, said in his judgement that Mwangi, 30, turned his anger on Wanjiku, noting he went for her neck, pulled her braids and tried to strangle her, claiming the baby was a 'jini' (evil spirit) in the house.

But Wanjiku managed to disentangle herself from the man. Moments later, when she asked him where the baby was, he said he had thrown the 'rat' in the latrine.

The court heard that Mwangi asked Wanjiku to sober up because they were going to have a human child seeing as the one he had killed was an "evil spirit".

Prosecutor Mercy Ikol asked the court to pass a harsh penalty, noting that the accused had earlier been charged in another court for giving false information. The prosecution called seven witnesses.

MALICE AFORETHOUGHT

According to a postmortem report, the cause of death was blunt trauma.

Justice Ombija said the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and that Mwangi had malice aforethought. The judge agreed with the prosecution assertions that the accused committed the offence.

"After carefully analysing the evidence, I find and hold that it is the accused who caused the death of the deceased by strangling her, apart from lying on top of the mother with the child below her on the bed," he said.

Ombija added: "The prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and I sentence the accused to suffer death in the manner prescribed under the law. He is inhuman, brutal and heartless and he therefore does not deserve mercy from this court."

The judge also said the fact that Mwangi had earlier been charged with giving false information reinforced the prosecution case against him.

"I had the advantage of assessing the demeanour of the accused. He appeared to me as a person who is economical with the truth while on the other hand the wife appears as the witness of the truth and, accordingly, I rest my judgement on her testimony," he said.

The woman said on the fateful night, they retired to bed at around 11pm but Mwangi woke up at 2am, lit a candle then put it off, claiming there were "evil spirits" in the house.

She said Mwangi lifted her and placed her on top of the child as she struggled to free herself. She managed to free herself and that is when he strangled the baby despite her pleas.

In mitigation, Mwangi's lawyer, Daniel Mathenge, pleaded for a lenient sentence, arguing that his client had already spent five years in custody.

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