Did Kiambu police kill Stephen?

Stephen Mwangi Mugweru, 24, was found dead with deep skull fractures after being arrested in Kiambu. [Standard, File]

Three weeks ago, 24-year-old Stephen Mwangi Mugweru left his home in Kiambu county to run his small shoe-selling business at the county’s capital, Kiambu town.

It was on May 24 when the last-born in a family of six disappeared. Stephen did not return home.

His brother, Samuel Mugweru, was to find him lying on the hospital bed a day later. He died at Kiambu Level Five Hospital the same day.

Samuel says he grew increasingly worried when his calls to Stephen went unanswered.

“I called my mum to inquire if she had spoken to Stephen. She said she hadn't. But just when I terminated the conversation, I received a call from a stranger who told me my brother had been arrested the previous day but was at the hospital,” Samuel recounted in tears, adding:

“I took my boda (motor cycle) and rushed to Kiambu Level Five Hospital where I found him lying helplessly on the bed, and on oxygen.”

Samuel says Stephen was bleeding from his right ear and had lost consciousness.

“The police said he had a convulsion, something he had never experienced before. The officers further claimed Stephen had fallen and injured himself,” Samuel said.

Samuel says a doctor asked him to rush to Kiambu to buy medicine costing Sh2000 because the hospital did not have it. When he came back, the brother was no more.

"It was painful and sad. My brother, who left that Friday morning very okay, died in the hands of the police,” Samuel mourns.

The deceased's parents say their son had no history of a medical problem.

“My son had no illness. How come he died while in police custody? We were told that he fell because he is epileptic. My son was not epileptic,” Godfrey Mugweru, Stephen’s father told The Nairobian.

The senior Mugweru says his son was oozing blood from the nose, ears and head.

Mwangi’s mother, Alice Wanjiku, says her son was obedient, friendly, and had no grudge against anyone.

“On the day my son was arrested, I had sent him to go and take merry-go-round money to a woman friend in Kiambu market, which he did. By that time, he was in good health. On Saturday, I heard that my son had been arrested and then dumped at the hospital. There was no police officer in the hospital when we visited,” Wanjiku said.

When the police took Stephen to the hospital at 10.30am that Saturday, they reportedly said he had a history of convulsions, was known to be an alcoholic, and that his residence was at Kiambu police station.

In a statement, the police said Stephen had been arrested for possession of bhang.

 A postmortem report says Stephen had suffered two deep skull fractures. He was bleeding and had developed a blood clot.

Eyewitnesses at the bus stop confirmed seeing police officers apprehending Stephen and others around midday on Friday.

A cellmate at Kiambu police station told Nairobian Steve was beaten by a police officer called Bayang.

“Bayang was calling each one of us in the morning and beating us,” the source said.

His sentiments were echoed by those arrested alongside Stephen.

We could not reach Kiambu Officer Commanding Police Division Mohamed Badel and Kiambu County Police Commander Michael Muchiri Nyaga did not pick our calls.