The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Mercy Witness Tells Inquest of Dark Mercedes

A motorist yesterday said she saw a vehicle speeding soon after seeing a body lying in Waiyaki Way in June last year.

Lusina Wanjeri Muriuki told the inquest into the death of university student Mercy Keino that a "darkish black Mercedes Benz registration number KBM 400H" overtook her with its hazard lights flashing.

She told the inquest before magistrate P. Ndwiga that she recorded the car's registration number and reported the incident to the police the following morning. "I noticed a car driving very fast with its hazard on heading towards Westlands. It seemed a bit odd for a car to drive in such a way since there was no traffic Jam. The speed drew my attention. I found it a bit odd so I noted down the registration number on my phone," Wanjeri said.

Mercy's body was found along Waiyaki Way on the night of June 17 2011, after she had been in a party at Wasini Luxury Homes in Westlands hosted by Juja MP William Kabogo. She was invited by her relative Scolastica Khamemba to join about 10 other girls at the party. Muriuki said the mysterious car sped past her minutes after she saw legs, believed to be Mercy's, underneath another vehicle driving along Waiyaki Way. Wanjeri said she could not take the registration number of the second car as she had overtaken it.

She was driving from Lavington to Jacaranda Hotel to meet a friend at about 2.30am. Upon passing Safaricom House, she noticed the body on the road. She did not stop but continued driving towards Westlands roundabout when she saw the dark Mercedes. "I thought I should report the incident to the police as a good citizen. I reported the incident to Parklands police station and they told me they recovered a body along Waiyaki Way. I left my number and I was called a day later to record a statement," she said.

During cross examination by lawyer Cliff Ombeta, who is acting for city businessman Wycliffe Lugwiri, owner of a Mercedes Benz KBM 400H, the witness said she did not have evidence that she noted down the registration numbers. Another witness, receptionist Veronica Kithome narrated how Mercy spent her last moments at the party.

She said she saw her kissing and fondling with one of Kabogo's bodyguards. Veronica said that Mercy "kept pushing and pulling the young man. She would follow the young man but he kept resisting her advances. At a point I found her lying on the couch while making funny noises. She was kicking the young man."

According to her, Mercy became violent late at night and threw a glass at her. Veronica said a commotion ensued thereafter on the terrace where they were drinking. "Her behavior was not normal. I think she had taken one too many. Even the guards who tried to calm her said she was behaving like a mad woman," Veronica said while being cross examined by lawyer Stanley Kang'ai, representing Kabogo.

At one point, Veronica said Mercy threatened Scolastica that she would report what happened to her aunt. A third witness, Pauline Olwando, served the guests at the party. She confirmed that Mercy started misbehaving after she had drunk several glasses of wine and whisky. She said Mercy broke a bottle of Tusker Malt and threw a glass at her but she ducked.

She reported the incident to the administrative manager at the apartments called Dilpul Shah. Shah had authorized Kabogo and his friends to use the house for their party. On Monday and Tuesday, the inquest heard that Kabogo had slapped and kicked Mercy several times. Mercy, 25, was later found dead on Waiyaki Way, less than two kilometers from Wasini Apartments. The inquest continues this morning.

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