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No evidence to link man to lover's killing, court told

RIFT VALLEY
By Daniel Chege | October 7th 2021

Godfrey Kangogo before Justice Joel Ngugi at Nakuru High Court on October 7, 2021. [Daniel Chege, Standard]

A detective who probed the killing of former Rift Valley Institute lecturer Irene Jepchumba has no evidence to directly link Godfrey Kangogo to the alleged murder.

Pamela Rono, an investigator with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI), told Justice Joel Ngugi that he could only place the accused at the scene of the murder.

In her testimony in court yesterday, Rono said it was only Kangogo, Jepchumba’s lover, who can say what happened during the incident on July 6, 2018.

“My investigations only placed the accused person as the last person to be with the deceased. He is the only one who can tell the truth of what transpired,” Rono testified.

Kangogo has denied causing the death of Jepchumba by allegedly pushing her at Choka Falls on Molo River as she was taking a selfie.

However, Rono said that none of her 23 witnesses saw Kangogo push Jepchumba into the waterfalls.

She said that at first, witnesses who reported Jepchumba’s death said that she had drowned.

“Deceased’s father came to Menengai Police Station where I am based on July 7, 2018, and reported that his daughter had drowned at Molo River. The report was booked under OB 8/7/7/2018," she told the court.

She testified that she interviewed witnesses who saw Kangogo and Jepchumba before her death and none suggested that there was a fight between the two.

Four witnesses who saw the couple together said they held hands as they walked close to each other and carrying drinks in their tumblers while hiking.

Rono testified that it was only until July 12, 2018, that Jepchumba’s file was changed from drowning to murder after postmortem was conducted.

The report by Dr Titus Ngulungu, a pathologist at Rift Valley Provision General Hospital, showed that Jepchumba died of strangulation.

"After the report, we formed an opinion that there was foul play and arrested Kangogo as the main suspect.

Rono testified on 'threatening' messages allegedly sent to Jepchumba by the accused person on July 4, 2018, two days to her death.

Lawyer David Mongeri cross-examined Rono on why the mobile phone number sent for forensic analysis on July 27, 2018, differed from the one received on September 5, 2018.

"I put it to you that the threatening messages you are claiming emanated from the accused person’s phone are not his but other phones,” said Mongeri.

“There was a typing error of the number in the report we received because it is for the same number,” answered Rono.

“When did you realise that there was a typing error and the mobile phone numbers were different?” asked Mongeri.

“I have just realised it now during cross-examination,” she answered.

Mongeri wondered why Rono recommended Kangogo to be charged with murder when all the evidence allegedly pointed towards drowning.

The hearing will proceed on November 12 when the cybercrime expert will testify.

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