Neither the cries of her dying lover, nor the pleas of neighbours who stared dumbfounded through a window could stop Ruth Kamande from plunging a kitchen knife 22 times into her boyfriend.
There was blood everywhere at the crime scene in 2015.
“She stabbed again and again and took pleasure in it. It wasn’t at a go, there were intervals.”
With those words, judge Jessie Lessit yesterday sentenced 24-year-old Kamande — the reigning Miss Lang’ata Prison — to death by hanging for murdering Farid Mohammed.
Kamande listened impassively as the judge read her sentence. She was wearing a vivid pink jacket, a beige blouse and black trousers. Her hair was plaited. She looked as though she expected to walk free.
She is expected to appeal.
Kamande was 21 when she committed the crime, Farid was 24. Kamande said he tried to kill her after she discovered he was HIV positive and hiding his status from her. She was also insanely jealous.
Lessit was unmoved.
Though the Supreme Court has ruled that the death sentence is not mandatory, judges have discretion to impose it in cases of grievous crimes.
Though it has not been abolished, no one has been hanged in Kenya since 1987.
Justice Lessit said Kamande showed no mercy, still shows no remorse and deserves nothing less than death.
“I want young people to know that it is not cool to kill your boyfriend or girlfriend. Instead, it is cool to walk away from a relationship when it breaks down, and to forgive,” Lessit said.
Nisameheni! Miss Lang’ata prison Ruth Kamande who stabbed her boyfriend 22 times pleads for forgiveness
On February 27, Kamande confessed to stabbing her boyfriend 22 times.
The 2016 winner of the Lang’ata Prison beauty pageant testified that she stabbed Mohammed in self-defence. She told the court he tried to kill her after she discovered he was HIV-positive. She also said she had converted to Islam, prays five times a day and deserves mercy. Kamande wants to go to university.
“Mohammed told me that he would rather kill me and himself than have his status exposed. l stabbed him severally using a kitchen knife, which fell on my chest from his hands after I overpowered him, after putting my two thumbs in his eyes to save my life,” Kamande had testified.
She said she had a long argument with Mohammed that morning after she discovered a card for HIV treatment bearing his name, hidden under a mattress.
“Your Honour, it pained me to know that the person whom i loved and trusted so much was to ruin my life by infecting me with HIV and Aids,” Kamande had testified.
She gave a detailed account of her final moments with her lover and said he wanted to kill her after she threatened to reveal his status to his family.
Yesterday, the judge said Kamande was controlling and manipulative and acted out of jealousy and disappointment.
She said Kamande would snoop in her lover’s phone to find out if he was chatting with other women. When he changed his password and she was denied access, she blocked the phone and locked him out for days, stopping him from going to work.
“Justice has been done. We are happy Mohammed can now rest in peace. He had just started his life but it was taken away too soon,” his emotional aunt Emma Wanjiku told reporters after the ruling.
She said her family was still grieving.
On the day of murder, Kamande had fits of jealousy and rage after she found Mohammed’s old high school love letters.
“Biggie”, as she is known to her friends, told the court she is a devoted Muslim and has enrolled in several religion courses.
Kamande said she was afraid of losing a chance to join Jomo Kenyatta University of Information and Technology, where she has been admitted to study Business Information.
However, the judge said Mohammed was killed in a calculated manner and Kamande does not appear to have suffered any anguish. These factors prompted the court to sentence her to death.
I have taken into consideration that she was only 21 when she committed the offence. The deceased was equally young, he was 24 years old, an orphan and sole breadwinner,’ judge Lessit said.