Man accused of killing wife, making it look like suicide found guilty

A businessman who killed his wife and made the scene look like she had committed suicide has been found guilty of murder.

Mutua Mwanzia now faces a long prison sentence after the Mombasa High Court ruled that he murdered Mary Wanjiku Waweru.

High Court Judge Anne Ong’injo ruled that although no one saw the deceased being killed, Mwanzia was the last person with the deceased and his whereabouts on the fateful morning could not be established.

“The only inference that can be drawn from the circumstances is that Mwanzia was involved in the murder of the deceased and made the scene look as if she had committed suicide,” the judge said.

The judge noted that the administration of a pesticide and the use of a cable to tie the deceased to the window grille to make it look as if she had committed suicide by hanging was evidence of extreme malice aforethought on the part of the accused.

Justice Ong’injo noted that the presence of poisonous substances in the samples analysed by the government analyst and the position of the deceased at the scene of the crime led her court to believe that her death was caused by an unlawful act by someone.

“In conclusion, the court finds that the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt. The accused is found guilty of the offence of murder and is accordingly sentenced,” the judge said.

The judge also noted that although the pathologists believed that the deceased died of possible neck compression and asphyxia due to hanging, the court looked at the photographs of the deceased and found that it was not practically possible for someone to die by hanging from a height much less than their own body height.

“It does not make sense that the deceased could have ingested pesticide and then hanged herself,” she said.

The pictures showed the deceased tied to the bottom grate of the window in her bedroom, leaning on the bed with her legs stretched out on the floor.

Mwanzia had denied killing his wife. According to the charge sheet, he committed the offence on May 13, 2016 in Ushindi area of Likoni sub-county.

The prosecution called 16 witnesses, including the deceased’s children, to support its case that Mwanzia committed the crime.

The deceased children told the court that their parents used to quarrel and fight, sometimes in their presence.

“Our father used to beat our mother. That day, my mother said goodbye to me and went back to the living room to sleep because I was going to school in the morning. Later I was told that my mother was dead,” said the minor, aged eight.

The minor’s sister, aged 13, also confirmed that her parents used to fight a lot.

“But that day I did not hear them fighting. I left her with my sister when I went to school early in the morning. Later I was told that our mother had died,” she said.

But Mwanzia explained that his wife’s death shocked him because he had left her at home while he went to work.

He said they were running an M-Pesa business, a hairdressing salon and a juice parlour, and that they had a disagreement after he noticed a shortage of money when they took the M-Pesa business into account.

“I told the deceased that we would discuss the matter after work because the M-Pesa shortages were too frequent,” he said.

Mwanzia told the court that his wife was temperamental and he told her that he would be forced to hire someone else, but the deceased told him that he wanted to take his mistress to the M-Pesa shop.

The accused also said that in 2008, the deceased attempted to take her life by overdosing on medication when she accused him of being seen with another woman in town.

“She was taken to the dispensary where first aid was administered and she recovered. She was questioned by the doctor and counseled,” he said.

The accused also said that his wife had a bad temper and could do anything without thinking.

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