Kenya: Nanyuki Woman Found Guilty for Killing Her HIV Positive Child

10 December 2018

A mother of three accused of strangling her two-year-old HIV positive child to death in Nanyuki has been found guilty of manslaughter.

Justice Mary Kasango substituted her murder charge for manslaughter after finding that the prosecution failed to prove malice aforethought against the woman.

The judge ruled that the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence.

"It became clear even as the accused was cross examined by the prosecution that when she killed the deceased, she was a tormented person. It became clear that her intention was to kill the deceased then take poison and commit suicide. It follows, therefore, that I find that accused did not have malice aforethought," ruled Justice Kasango.

Prior to the killing, the deceased child was being looked after by his grandmother, who testified that he had HIV. She was taking care of him while his mother lived elsewhere.

The other two children were living with their respective biological fathers.

The youngest one was left under the grandmother's care as her mother struggled with alcohol abuse, the court was told.

The grandmother said she requested the daughter to take care of her child since her husband was ailing and need more attention.

"The grandmother even, during her evidence, muttered that if the accused did not want to take care of the deceased should have returned him to her. She even shed tears while narrating her evidence," stated Justice Kasango.

On April 15, 2016 the accused went to visit her mother but without her last born child. On asking about the child's whereabouts, the accused informed her that she had taken the child to a place where children suffering with HIV are taken care of.

She was arrested two days later on claims that she left her home on suspicion of killing her child.

The court heard that when she was arrested she was intending to buy poison to commit suicide.

The body of the deceased was later discovered by Peter Kariuki Migwi in a forest in Nyeri.

As Mr Migwi was leaving the forest he noticed a polythene bag and when he looked at it he noticed a child's arm. He immediately called the forest manager on phone to inform him.

Forest officers led by Corporal Ephrahim Kinyua Karimi, Oliver Ntwiga Kinyua, Sergeant Elijah Njama Ndirangu and Samuel Kilika Kamau went to the scene and confirmed the content in the bag was the body of a child.

The officers called Narumoru Police Station whose officers went to the scene and recovered the body of the deceased.

A post-mortem revealed that the boy was strangled to death and his body folded and placed inside plastic bags.

In her defence, the suspect told the court she had taken her three children to her father at Ngerima village in Nyeri.

"The accused in my view lied... She fabricated a story that she had, under her care, three children. The accused even lied that her mother and father were separated," said Justice Kasango.

The woman is awaiting sentencing.

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