Kenya: Man Jailed for 25 Years for Killing Father-in-Law Over Child Custody

A 27-year-old man will spend 25 years in jail for killing his father-in-law following a domestic dispute.

Jackson Ngara Nderitu attacked the deceased, Phillip Irungu Muturi, with a machete at Gakanga village in Kieni West Nyeri on March 1, 2014 after a scuffle.

This followed differences involving custody of Mr Nderitu's child aged 18 months.

Mr Nderitu's wife, Purity Wambui Irungu had returned to her parents' home complaining that he was mistreating her and even threatened to kill her. Wambui had left the child at her matrimonial home.

DIED ON THE SPOT

The fight occurred after the deceased went to pick the child. While leaving with the child, Mr Nderitu followed him and severely cut him on the head with a machete, killing him on the spot.

In mitigation, his lawyer Mr Njuguna Kimani submitted that he was remorseful and that he had been in custody for more than five years and had learnt that crime does not pay.

"As a society, we have become so angry and so uncommunicative that even marital problems are solved with fatal violence - surely the accused could have found another way to deal with the issue," said Justice Teresiah Matheka after sentencing the convict.

A victim impact assessment report filed by probation officer Irene Thuarnira indicated that the accused's family does not to have good standing in the community. The report described the family as 'hostile, violent and uncooperative'.

SELF-DEFENCE

Mr Nderitu suggested that he acted in self-defence when killing his father-in-law. But the court noted that he never raised the matter during trial as he denied completely having seen the deceased that fateful morning.

"This would amount to an afterthought, a feeble, belated attempt at getting at the strings of mercy that hold the scales of justice. The accused denied it all along but it dawned on him after conviction that there was no escape and he came up with the story of acting in self defence," said Justice Teresiah Matheka.

His wife described him as violent, and had threatened to kill her. She lives in fear that should he be released; he will carry out his threat.

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