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Couple, son detained for three days over alleged fatal assault of daughter

NAIROBI
By Paul Ogemba | May 24th 2021
A couple and their son detained for three days to allow probe into fatal assault of their daughter. [Courtesy]

A couple suspected to have beaten their 15-year-old daughter to death have been detained for three days to allow police complete investigations.

It was a sad day for Frankline Ntwiga Marangu, his wife Benedetta Mbeni Muthoka and son Ian Ntwiga Marangu as they faced double tragedy of being in the dock over allegations of murder while still mourning the death of their daughter Christine Makena.

Nairobi Senior Resident Magistrate Jane Kamau ruled that it was a unique situation that the family of three had found themselves in and declined to give the prosecution seven days they had requested for to have them detained to complete investigations.

“It is a unique investigation which requires that we strike a balance between the right of investigators to do their work and the grieving family who find themselves in the dock. I will allow the application to detain them for three days and not seven days as requested,” ruled Kamau.

The family sat pensively in the dock as the prosecution made the application to detain them, with anxiety and fear on their faces of the possibility of facing lengthy spell in jail should the prosecution decide to charge them with murder.

Their predicament was worsened by the thought of their daughter lying in the cold room in a mortuary because of what the prosecution claimed was their brutality in punishing the young girl when she missed going to school.

Their lawyer pleaded with the court to have mercy on them and requested that they be allowed to attend the postmortem analysis to ascertain what killed the girl.

“They are the immediately family members of the deceased and are still grieving her death. They are the ones required to make formal decisions on her burial and are requesting to be allowed to attend the post-mortem operations,” said the lawyer.

The prosecution in their application requested for seven days to detain the family to complete investigations before deciding whether to bring up murder charges of murder against the father, mother and son.

Police investigator Pascal Mwachiro in his affidavit to support the application swore that they arrested the family members on May 21 after the management of Coptic Hospital made a report that the female teenager succumbed to injuries suspected to have been inflicted by the parents.

Mwachiro swore that the preliminary investigations had established that the 15-year-old high school student went missing on May 16 when she was supposed to report back to school at Kitela Girls High School and resurfaced on May 20.

“The investigations revealed that she was a truant child and when she resurfaced, the parents took her for medical check-up before she was cleared to go back home where they started questioning her about the disappearance,” said Mwachiro.

He said that the parents then disciplined the girl using a pipe rod before she went to sleep but started complaining of difficulty in breathing.

He swore that when the parents realised things were not normal with their daughter, they rushed her back to Coptic Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

The magistrate directed that the parents be present during the postmortem to establish the death of their daughter and that they be taken to court again on Thursday when the prosecution will make a decision on whether to charge them with murder.

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