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Agnes Tirop murder suspect Ibrahim Rotich denied bail

By Lynn Kolongei | May 11th 2022 | 3 min read
Agnes Tirop was found dead in her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, on October 13, 2021. [File, Standard]

The High Court in Eldoret has denied the application to release, on bond, the prime suspect in the murder of international athlete Agnes Tirop.

Ibrahim Rotich will remain in remand prison after his application was denied by Justice Reuben Nyakundi today.

Justice Nyakundi noted in his ruling that the prosecution had raised compelling reasons to warrant the denial of bond/bail. 

“The nature and seriousness of the alleged offence with prior conduct of the accused person raises reasonable grounds for believing that the accused may abscond outside the jurisdiction of this court. It should be mentioned that the court should therefore be very reluctant in granting bail pending trial at this stage of the proceedings. I have denied granting bail now and the accused will remain in custody,” said Justice Nyakundi.

The judge said the court had taken into account the conduct of the accused, the gravity of the offence, the accused's knowledge of the witnesses and the pre-bail report filed in court.

“I have considered the pre-bail report, the victim impact statement and the affidavit by the investigation officer and find that there are compelling reasons to deny the accused person bail. His conduct after the offence shows that he is a flight risk,” read the ruling.

The judge said the court had the power to review its decision if the circumstances change.

The accused has a right to appeal the high court’s decision if dissatisfied with the ruling.

Justice Reuben Nyakundi: Ibrahim Rotich a flight risk. [Standard]

The prosecution had earlier filed an affidavit opposing the release on bond of the accused citing various reasons that they claimed warrant denial of bail or bond.

In their affidavit, the prosecution noted that it had overwhelming evidence connecting Rotich to the murder, an incentive for the accused to abscond court.

According to the prosecution, Rotich was likely to influence, intimidate or interfere with witnesses.

It stated that among the 10 key witnesses expected to testify in court are Rotich’s family members who are well known to him.

The prosecution also claimed that the accused had threatened to take his own life before his arrest and that there was a high likelihood that the accused may decide to commit suicide if freed from remand prison.

“When the scene of the crime was documented and evidence collected, some exhibits among them being a suicide note by the accused were collected,” reads part of the affidavit.

It added that he was a flight risk as he had fled to Mombasa where he was arrested heading to an unknown destination after the incident on October 13, 2021. The ruling also noted that the accused had not rebutted the statement by the prosecution.

“The matter is also in the public domain and of great importance given that the deceased was a renowned international athlete across the world and if released, the accused’s security is not guaranteed,” further read the affidavit.

Denied bail, Ibrahim Rotich.  [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

Rotich denied the charge of murdering his lover in November last year as he was arraigned before Justice Nyakundi.

Tirop, 25, was a star athlete who had participated in Tokyo Olympics, featuring in the 5,000-metre race in which she finished fourth last year.

She won a bronze medal in the 2017 and 2019 World Championships in the 10,000m, and also broke the record in the women’s 10km road race at the Adizero Road to Records event in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

The athlete was found dead in her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County on October 13, 2021.

The postmortem examination at the Iten County Referral Hospital (ICRH) mortuary revealed that Tirop had suffered neck stabs and was hit on the head with a blunt object.

She was buried at her parent’s home in Nandi County on October 23, 2021.

The pretrial is set to commence on June 22. 

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