19 July 2018

Kenya: Lang'ata Prison Beauty Queen Ruth Kamande Sentenced to Death for Killing Boyfriend

Photo: Daily Nation
Ruth Kamande (in wedding dress) shot to infamy in October 2015, when she was charged with the murder of her boyfriend. She has now been convicted.

Nairobi — Former Lang'ata Women's Prison beauty queen Ruth Kamande has been sentenced to death for killing her boyfriend, Farid Mohammed in 2015.

Justice Jessie Lesiit committed the 2016 beauty queen to death despite the penalty having been lifted by a superior court saying her court was free to exercise judicial discretion.

She noted that despite the Supreme Court finding the death penalty unconstitutional in a decision it rendered in December last year, the punishment was still enshrined in statutes.

"In my view, the discretion to pass a sentence other than death in capital offences should only be exercised in deserving cases. I do not find this a deserving case and I think passing any other sentence than the one prescribed would turn the accused into a hero," the judge said during Kamande's sentencing on Thursday.

"I want young people to know that it is not cool to kill your boyfriend or girlfriend even where you feel disappointed or frustrated - don't do it. Instead, it is cool to walk away and thereafter to forgive," Justice Lesiit outlined.

She also said Kamande showed no remorse for her actions in the course of the trial despite having stabbed her boyfriend repeatedly for up to twenty-five times.

"Even though the police say they had inadvertently lost the pictures of the scene, the evidence of those who went there created a vivid picture of how it looked after the incident - they said that there was blood all over," the judge observed in her ruling.

Justice Lesiit also declined a request by Kamande's lawyers for leniency on the basis that the accused person had successfully applied to join the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) for further studies saying the ex-beauty queen was free to enlist for courses within the prisons system.

Speaking to reporters following the sentencing, the victim's aunt, Emmah Wanjiku said the family was glad justice had finally been served.

"Anybody who thinks there's no justice, there's justice for victims and that's what we were hoping for today. We're glad that this day came and his grandparents, his sister was actually in court today when this verdict was given," a tear-stained Wanjiku said.

"He had just completed his Information Technology course and he had made an effort working part-time to complete his education. He had just started his job when his life was cut short," she said adding that Kamande was too controlling over Mohammed.

Kamande who has been in custody since 2015 was found guilty of killing Mohammed who was then 24-years-old in May.

According to submissions made in court, she stabbed Mohammed severally following a domestic dispute sparked by a revelation that he had been taking HIV suppressing drugs without her knowledge.

Kamande said Mohammed had threatened her when she confronted him.

While sentencing her to death Justice Lesiit said the accused had shown manipulative behaviour as she had on many occasions secretly accessed Mohammed's phone.

The judge dismissed rape allegations after a medical report ruled out the claim.

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