Judge pushes verdict on Ivy Wangeci murder to next Thursday

Naftali Kinuthia before Justice Stephen Githinji at the High Court in Eldoret on March 3, 2023. [Peter Ochieng, Standard]

Naftali Kinuthia, the prime suspect in the murder of Moi University medical student Ivy Wangeci, is poised to learn his fate next week.

Justice Stephen Githinji, who has presided over the trial of this case since its commencement in 2019, postponed the delivery of the judgment to October 26, saying the judgment was not yet finalised.

Justice Githinji, who has subsequently been transferred to the Malindi High Court, was scheduled to render his verdict through virtual means.

Present at the High Court in Eldoret were family members of both the accused and the deceased. Nancy Kinuthia, the mother of the accused, told reporters she had placed her trust in God to guide the proceedings.

In March, Kinuthia presented sworn testimony in his defence, following the prosecution's conclusion of its case, which had featured approximately 20 witnesses.

During his appearance before Justice Githinji at the High Court in Eldoret, Kinuthia recounted the tragic events leading to the student's murder outside the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital.

Kinuthia said on April 9, 2019, he had driven from Nairobi to Eldoret to attend Ivy's birthday, set for April 10.

He said at that time, he and Wangeci were not on speaking terms, as she had even blocked communication with him. Nonetheless, he had made the journey to attend her birthday celebration.

"She told me her new boyfriend would handle the expenses for her birthday and that I was not invited," he said in court.

Kinuthia said he was deeply hurt by the rejection, believing that it signalled the end of their relationship. Just before reaching his car, he said he saw Ivy with a man and got jealous.

He said he only became aware of Wangeci's death when he was hospitalised at MTRH after a violent mob attacked him. "I did not have any intention of causing harm to Ivy," Kinuthia said.

When questioned regarding the axe used in the fatal attack on the student, Kinuthia said he routinely carried the axe with him for self-defence.

Wangeci's friends dismissed allegations that the two were a couple. They said Kinuthia often nagged their friend and would spend money trying to entice her into a relationship.

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