dowry woman crying

A man has been found guilty of murdering his wife.

The court heard that Isaac Kirui beat and forced Damaris Kibe to take poison. Kirui was convicted by High Court judge Justus Bwonwonga after the prosecution proved he committed the offence. He will be sentenced in two weeks’ time.

Kirui was charged in 2013. The prosecution called five witnesses in the case. Lucy Ntutu, their landlord, testified that the two lived together in a one-room house as husband and wife. Damaris’s body was found covered with a blanket in bed.

A postmortem revealed that her stomach had semi-digested material with tiny white particles.

Pathologist Titus Ngulungu said the mucosa in the genito-urinary system appeared hemorrhagic. And her head had a bruise.

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The cause of death was due to chemical poisoning and gastritis. The large bruise at the back of the head was due to blunt trauma, he said.

Organophosphate pesticide was found in the samples sent to the government analyst. The chemical is used to kill pests. When ingested by humans, it blocks neuron transmission and causes paralysis of the heart and lungs, leading to death.

During cross-examination, Ngulungu said the poison was orally administered.

“Usually, people who commit suicide do not have other injuries. According to the doctor, the injuries suggested forced ingestion and the injury on the body of the deceased was inflicted before death,” he said.

Douglas Angima, the security assistant at the residence, said Damaris told him she had disagreements with her husband and needed their help. He waited for his chairman to return so they could help. By the time the chairman came back, however, the woman had died.

Police officer Thomas Mwinga said he was informed of a fight at 7am. He then proceeded to the crime scene where he found Damaris dead. Kirui was on the spot and had a bottle of insecticide.

He told the officer Damaris had poisoned herself. He was taken to a police post.

“A group of people wanted to beat the accused. As a result, the officer took him to their office. There was a curtain sheet that divided the one-room house into a bedroom and a sitting room, which was bloodstained,” Mwinga said.

In his defence, Kirui had said the deceased was his girlfriend. He said that on November 3, 2013, he went to Transmara West to bring roofing grass. As he returned, he got a call from Damaris. She was crying but declined to explain her problem, he said.

On reaching his house, he found Damaris, who, he said, appeared drunk. He said she worked at Equator Pub. He went to bed. At about 3am, the accused woke up and cried again saying she was dying.

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He tried to assist her but she fell down and got injured, Kirui said.

The judge disagreed. He said the postmortem report disclosed that she died after poisoning and attack.

“In the circumstances, I find that the evidence discloses murder and not manslaughter,” he ruled.

“The upshot of the foregoing is that I find the accused is guilty of murder and therefore convict him of murder contrary to Section 203 as read with Section 204 of the Penal Code.”

CAROLYNE KUBWA/The Star

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