Jaha House in Shela where the Keroche Breweries heiress died after falling downstairs first cleaned up the blood before calling the police, an inquest heard on Thursday.

The inquest is seeking to determine whether Tecra Muigai died from an accidental fall or was pushed down the steep stairs.

It will also determine whether her live-in boyfriend Omar Lali will be charged with murder.

Lali, who was living with Tecra in the guesthouse at the time, was arrested in connection with her death but has been released on bail.

A police officer in charge of tourist facilities in Lamu has told the court that Jaha House in Shela did not report the incident in which the Keroche Breweries heiress is claimed to have fallen and later died.

Speaking during the inquest on Tecra Muigai’s death, Evans Mwandandu told the court that even though the apartment boss was informed that Tecra had fallen on the staircase, they failed to report to the police.

Mwandandu said the hotel boss, identified only as Evans, even asked a waiter, Geoffrey Maliola, to clean up the blood on the staircase where Tecra’s boyfriend Omar Lali said he found her lying.

“I asked the manager and he said they were aware of the incident but had not reported it to the police station,” he said.

The officer said the management hadn’t filled in any apartment guests’ form, which is a requirement for a tourist guest house.

“He could not explain why he had asked a waiter to clean the blood before cops arrived and without reporting the incident,” Mwandandu testified.

He said the manager also informed him that another officer from the CID had already collected two Smirnoff vodkas, one white wine bottle and a Fanta bottle

“Lali said they were chewing miraa and I was not shown any leftovers or waste if there were any,” he said.

Mwandandu said DCIO Amina called him to her office on May 4, 2020, at around 2pm and informed him that there was a murder suspect in the cell and she wanted him to take up the case.

“I went and interrogated Lali who told me that they had taken Smirnoff vodka, white wine and miraa,” he testified.

“Lali said he slept off on the couch and was only woken up by a loud bang at around 5.30am,” he added.

According to the officer, Lali told him he called Tecra but she did not respond. He went out to check and found her lying on a landing area between the first and second staircase.

“He said Tecra was bleeding from the left ear. That he tried to resuscitate her but she wasn’t responding, so, he called his brothers for help,” he told the court.

Mwandandu said Lali and his brothers took Tecra to Shela dispensary but were referred to King Fahad hospital.

“I asked why he didn’t report the incident at the police station but he claimed to have called an officer from the station but he didn’t succeed,” he said.

Omar Lali

During cross-examination, the officer said he knew Lali well before the incident and they have each other’s contact.

“We used to drink sodas together even before, and we still talk up to date. We are on good terms and he gives me information involving my work,” he said.

As the cross-examination got tougher, the officer told the court that  Lali’s lawyer is his friend and they often hang out together.

 “It is okay. You are my best friend and we drink tea together in Lamu, I am not fighting with him your honour,” he said.

Tecra died on May 2, 2020, at Nairobi Hospital after she allegedly fell down steep stairs at a guest house they were renting. A day after the news, police arrested Lali in connection with her death.

Tecra had been living with Lali, a 51-year-old man, in an apartment in Shela, Lamu Island.

Tecra Muigai's burial and eulogy book
Tecra Muigai's burial and eulogy book

Lamu principal magistrate Allan Sitati at the time allowed police to detain Lali for 21 days to enable them to conclude their investigations.

A postmortem examination indicated that Tecra may have died from trauma to the skull. Police report showed she was unresponsive when she was taken to King Fahad Hospital in Lamu on April 30, 2020.

The Keroche heiress was laid to rest on May 16, 2020, at a private burial in Naivasha. The ceremony was attended by at least 100 people.

Principal magistrate Zainab Abdul ruled that it was important to consider the interest of Tecra’s family, who were the most affected by her death and wished to have the inquest in Nairobi as opposed to Lamu.

“I find that the proper court to hear this inquest is Milimani court in Nairobi and not Lamu. Although the deceased sustained injuries, which led to her death in Lamu, she died in Nairobi and the nearest court where she died is here,” Abdul ruled.

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