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British soldier victim’s family wants justice

Rose Wanjiku (left) at her home in Majengo slums, Nanyuki, when she spoke to 'The Standard' about her sister Agnes Wanjiru’s killing in 2012. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

If she were alive today, Agnes Wanjiru would have been 30, perhaps wiser than she was when she went out with British Army soldiers on training in Kenya’s garrison town of Nanyuki.

Orphaned at five months, her child is now in middle primary school, her school fees paid by a Nanyuki-based charity organisation.

Today Agnes Wanjiru’s family can only hope the revelations in the UK about her killing will bring closure.

The family, through Wanjiru’s sister Rose Wanjiku, yesterday appealed to Kenyan and British governments to ensure justice was served, and fast.

This comes after reports emerged that a British soldier killed Wanjiru and dumped her body in a septic tank at the Lions Court Inn Hotel in Nanyuki - a garrison town that hosts not just the British Army Training Unit in Kenya (Batuk) but also scores of Kenya Defence Forces units.

Wanjiku’s family, which lives in Majengo slums - a minutes’ walk from the town centre - have the sad memories of her killing in March 2012 revived.

Since the UK’s Sunday Times broke the story of the killing, the family has had visitors, including crews from local and international media, brokers and lawyers.

Like most of Majengos in several other Kenyan towns, Nanyuki’s is a congested residence, with mostly mud-walled tin-roofed houses.

Lions Court Inn Hotel entrance, Nanyuki. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

The house where Wanjiru and her siblings lived has a shop at the front and the living quarters at the back.

“Agnes left a huge gap in our lives. I had to take care of her daughter, who was only five months old then. Her death shocked us and it was painful to learn that her body was dumped in a septic tank,” Ms Wanjiku said.

Even though reports now filtering in from the confession by the British Army colleagues of the alleged murderer indicated Wanjiru was stabbed multiple times in a room at the Lions Court Inn, notable is that her death was only reported when her body was found in a septic tank by a hotel worker disturbed by a foul smell.

She had stab wounds on the chest and abdomen.

“Police called us to verify if it was our sister. I was shocked... It is good that the details of her death have emerged and our family now knows the truth,” said Wanjiku.

Lydia Wairimu, a neighbour close to Wanjiru’s family, said some British soldiers who trained in Nanyuki had been terrorising locals and getting away with it.

A British soldier killed Wanjiru and dumped her body in a septic tank. [Courtesy]

She said it was also unfortunate that the management at Lions Court abandoned the family when they needed support most. 

“Our government should protect us the same way they protect foreigners. The British soldiers always misbehave whenever they come to town. Locals fear them since they are well trained and our government gives priority to foreigners.

“It is unfortunate that when Wanjiru died, no one came to assist the family to plan for the burial,” said Ms Wairimu.

The family claimed that when the matter was taken to Nanyuki law courts under the mandatory inquest on unexplained death, more cover-up seemed to have ensued, and there were no conclusive findings.

Lions Court Inn was by yesterday still closed for renovation.