The slain Father Michael Maingi

A suspect in the murder of Catholic priest Michael Maingi yesterday told the court how the cleric was murdered.Kavivya Mwangangi, a cook in a Mbeere restaurant known as Kwa Kanyiri, appeared at a Milimani court with another suspect, Solomon Mutava.

Police sought to detain them for eight more days at Capital Hill police station.

Mwangangi told a packed courtroom he was picked up on the night the priest was killed and ordered to enter a vehicle.  The priest had been abducted and stuffed in the vehicle’s boot.

“His hands were tied and at some point, I was asked to tie his feet and hands with ropes. He faced down and my colleague stepped on his neck,” he said.

His court testimony resonates with the words in an affidavit filed in court where the investigating officer said that both Mwangangi and Mutava had confessed to their act of restraining the deceased and killing him by slaughtering him with a panga.

“That after they killed him, they stitched him in a nylon sack and buried him in a place, Mashamba seasonal river in Embu county,” the affidavit by corporal Julio Mukembei read.

Mwangangi further added that at some point Mutava asked the priest to give his bank account number and state his M-Pesa balance.

Further, Mwangangi alleged that Mutava transferred cash from the priest’s bank account to an account that he did not know.

” I heard my colleague ask about the priest’s M-Pesa balance which he said was at Sh1,500. With a phone in his hand, I heard my friend ask for his bank account details which he was given and made a transaction,” he said.

However, Mwangangi’s confession was cut short by presiding magistrate Hellen Okwani who directed that he confesses at the police station in the presence of his family and a chief inspector.

“Since this sounds like a confession, the suspect will have to follow the correct procedure when making a confession in the presence of a chief inspector,” Okwani said.

The two will now be remanded at the police station pending completion of investigations. Investigators said their release would have interfered with investigations in the matter.

During their detention, their mental and physical assessment will be carried out by relevant experts before their arraignment.

On Thursday, the court allowed police to detain 25-year-old Michael Mutunga, a trained nursery school teacher for ten days at Kilimani police station.

Investigators had sought 14 days but senior principal magistrate Okwani reduced their request by four days.

The police said Mutunga was willing to provide more information that could lead to the recovery of other valuables belonging to the priest and help the police arrest more suspects.

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Police have said Mwangangi is also willing to volunteer more information that can assist in the arrest of more suspects.

The priest disappeared from his parents’ Tala home on October 5 and his body recovered on October 16 from a riverbed in Mbeere South, Embu.

Despite the recovery of the priest’s body and an autopsy carried out, the next of kin was unable to identify the same prompting a DNA test.

“That the DNA samples have been so far collected from the suspected body and the parents and forwarded to the government chemist for the purpose of DNA identifications,” the affidavit said.

The priest’s disappearance was reported to the KBC police station on October 7. The body was mutilated and stashed in a sack.

Elders said he was a humble, selfless and devoted to the church. They had gathered at his home and said Maingi ‘donated’ himself to the church.

Last week, investigations took a dramatic twist after the main suspect, Mutunga, said he had been in a romantic relationship with the deceased.

The case will be mentioned on November 6.

FAITH NYASUGUTA/The Star

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