Man jailed 15 years for killing wife in love triangle

A Nyumba Kumi member, Matayo Mmbwaga Kingiri has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for the manslaughter of his estranged wife, whom he brutally assaulted, inflicting severe cuts on her genitals over allegations of infidelity.

The sentencing followed a plea bargain agreement where Kingiri pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Justice Jacqueline Kamau handed down the sentence, underscoring the gravity of the crime and its profound impact on the victim's family and community.

"Having considered the facts of this case and Kingiri’s mitigation, this court came to the firm conclusion that a sentence of fifteen years would be suitable and adequate as he killed his wife in her father’s home after he sneaked in at night. The nature of the injuries sustained showed the malice that the accused person had and showed his intention of killing. A non-custodial sentence would be unjust," she stated.

Initially charged with murder, Kingiri was convicted of manslaughter under Section 202, as read with Section 205 of the Penal Code, after entering a plea agreement on February 5, 2024.

During the sentencing hearing, Kingiri's defense highlighted his remorse and personal transformation during his nearly five years in remand. He expressed deep regret for his actions and noted his conversion to Christianity, requesting a ten-year sentence.

However, the prosecution recommended a twelve-year custodial sentence, emphasizing the heinous nature of the crime, an argument that caught the court's eye.

"Killing someone is an abomination in society and that explains why the victim’s family and the community did not want him released on a non-custodial sentence which he requested for. A trial does not end unless a sentence has been meted out. The principle of sentencing is fairness, justice, proportionality, and commitment to public safety," Justice Kamau said.

The incident, which occurred on July 13, 2018, in Itegero Village, Sabatia Sub County, followed a disagreement between Kingiri and his wife over an alleged love affair.

The wife sought refuge at her father's home. Witnesses, including the woman's brother Abraham Kimanani and neighbour Alfred Imili, reported that Kingiri discovered his wife with another man.

"I found the accused's wife having sex with another man and when the accused learned of it, he beat her up. The wife packed her belongings in a suitcase and left to her parent’s home, and later on, the accused followed her to the home and killed her," Imili testified.

Later that night, she was found dead by her brother, having suffered fatal injuries, including a severe cut on her vagina, as confirmed by a post-mortem conducted on July 19, 2018.

A pre-sentence report by Bernard Musitia, a probation officer in Vihiga County, detailed Kingiri's troubled past, marked by alcohol and drug abuse. The report also reflected community and local administration concerns about his potential release, fearing for their safety and noting his previous criminal record.

The court took into account the time Kingiri had already spent in custody since his arrest on July 14, 2018, in accordance with Section 333(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

"Kingiri's fifteen-year sentence commences immediately, with the period spent in custody duly considered," said the judge.