Suspect in athlete Agnes Tirop's murder released on Sh500,000 cash bail

The late Agnes Tirop, former 500m World bronze medalist who was found dead on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. [Courtesy]

The High Court in Eldoret has released Ibrahim Rotich, the prime suspect in the murder of athlete Agnes Tirop, after ruling on his second bond application.

Justice Robert Wananda granted Rotich a Sh400,000 bond with two similar sureties or Sh500,000 cash bail.

The Judge said the earlier circumstances, which had led to the denial of the bond, have since changed.

The court gave Rotich seven tough bond terms he must comply with during his freedom.

Justice Wananda warned the accused, who has been in remand since his arrest, from interfering with the prosecution witnesses.

The court also directed that Rotich should not set foot in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet County, where the murder of the slain athlete took place.

He was also barred from leaving Uasin Gishu County, which is the court's jurisdiction, and to report to the DCI offices at Central Police Station in Eldoret every Monday.

“The accused should observe the set conditions, failure to which this court will cancel his bond terms,” Justice Wananda directed.

When the case came up for mention last month, Rotich had filed a second application for release on bond through his advocate Ngigi Mbugua.

Justice Wananda, who is now presiding on the matter, had then directed that he would rule on the application today before the first hearing of the case begins.

The prosecution team led by Emma Okok had informed the court that a pre-bail report, which will aid the court in making its decision, had been filed as directed by the judge.

The court had in May 2022, denied Rotich bond while listing compelling reasons for the same.

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

Rotich's attempts to seek a plea bargain and reduction of his murder charge to manslaughter have in the past proved futile after the prosecution, as well as Tirop’s family, opposed the application.

He denied the charge of murdering the athlete in November 2021 and has been in remand prison since then.

Tirop, 25, was a star athlete who had participated in the Tokyo Summer Olympics held in 2021, featuring in the 5,000-metre race in which she finished fourth.

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

Tirop was found dead in her house in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet county, on October 13, 2021.

The postmortem examination done by pathologists at the Iten County Referral Hospital mortuary revealed that the athlete had suffered neck stabs and was hit on the head with a blunt object.

The hearing of the case continues until November 17.