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Woman jailed for killing her friend over a man at Nairobi lodging

By Paul Ogemba | November 3rd 2018

A 37-year-old Rwandese woman has been sentenced to life imprisonment for killing her friend over a man.

Lady Justice Jessie Lessit found Antoinette Uwineza guilty of the murder of Winnie Uwambae over what the prosecution said was rivalry to win over a British man who had overlooked her and fallen in love with her Rwandese counterpart.

“I have considered the circumstances of the case and her mitigation crying for mercy but it is a fact that a life was lost through her actions. I therefore sentence her to life imprisonment,” ruled Lessit.

Antoinette was charged with the murder of Winnie on February 16, 2013 at Saharan Lodge along Duruma Road in Nairobi. At the time of her death, Winnie was seven months pregnant. Her foetus also died in the incident.

According to the prosecution’s evidence in court, both Antoinette and Winnie were Rwandese expatriates living in Nairobi.

They were good friends until Winnie fell in love with the British man. It was what made Antoinette jealous making her to plot for her friend’s elimination.

A receptionist at Saharan Lodge had testified that on February 16, 2013 at around 2 pm, Antoinette arrived at the hotel in the company of a middle aged man and that they were communicating in a foreign language he could not understand.

They asked about the price of rooms, and were taken to room number 417 on the second floor. He asked for their identification before booking them and the man produced a passport with the name Jean Claude.

The receptionist said he left them in the room until the morning of February 18 when bad smell started coming from the room. When they used a spare key to open, they found a decomposing body.

On closer inspection, they discovered that it was a different woman who had been murdered and not Antoinette, the one who had booked the room in the company of another man.

Police investigations centered on circumstantial evidence by tracking the deceased’s phone records and call data on the day she went missing.

The call data established that on February 16, 2013, Winnie was in her house in Westlands when Antoinette called her and requested that they meet at Saharan Lodge.

Since they were friends from the same country, Winnie did not suspect that it was a trap to end her life. She took a taxi and headed to their meeting point and since the hotel is big and hosts many people, the lodge attendants said they did not see what time she entered.

She went to room 417 where Antoinette and her man had booked. The prosecution could not establish what happened thereafter as only her dead, decomposing body was discovered two days later. A post-mortem result showed that she died as a result of strangulation.

Justice Lessit ruled that although the prosecution failed to establish the motive behind Winnie’s killing, there was overwhelming evidence that it was Antoinette who lured her to the lodging and handed her over to the killers.

“The prosecution has been able to establish the connection between Antoinette and the deceased and through circumstantial evidence proved that she was involved in the murder. I therefore find her guilty of the offence and convict her accordingly,” ruled Lessit.

The judge however spared two men who bought the phone allegedly stolen from Winnie after her death.

The two, Alexander Kiole Mutie and Kassin Oyamo Odiwuor were jointly charged with Antoinette with the murder.

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