Kenya: Court Hands Embu Policeman 20 Years for Killing 10 People

5 December 2019

A police officer, who shot and killed ten people was on Thursday jailed for 20 years by the High Court in Embu.

Peter Karanja committed the crime on November 6, 2010 in Siakago, Mbeere.

Karanja left his workstation and moved from pub to pub shooting people. He was allegedly looking for his estranged girlfriend, whom he had accused of infidelity. When he failed to find her, he vented his anger on innocent revellers and two of his colleagues.

The two officers had gone to the scene to investigate the shooting incident when Karanja turned his gun on them.

Delivering the sentence, Justice Florence Muchemi said the officer opened fire on the victims for no good reasons and without provocation and he deserved to be punished heavily.

Ms Muchemi said evidence given in court by various prosecution witnesses proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the officer was guilty of gruesome murders.

"It is my considered view that the accused deserves a deterrent sentence even if not the mandatory death sentence," she ruled.

In his defence, Karanja said he was remorseful and requested for leniency.

He informed the court that he was a single parent and his wife died in 2012 and that he was the sole breadwinner of his three children aged between nine and seventeen years.

Further Karanja told the court that he was suffering from a terminal disease whose details were confidential.

Through his lawyer, Karanja requested to be handed a non-custodial sentence to be able to take care of his children, who are in school and also seek medical treatment.

Justice Muchemi declined.

Karanja also told the court how he became traumatised when his four colleagues were gunned down by bandits in 1990 as he watched when he was working in Isiolo.

Since then, he claimed his productivity at work performance was affected and he became violent even to his wife and children.

"I sometimes attacked my children and wife, thinking they are bandits and I urge the court to have mercy on me," he said his defence.

Those who were killed in the shooting attack were Ephatus Munyi, Rachel Muthoni, Domiciano Muchira, Kinyua Kithumbi, Friendrick Okwako, George Ng'an'ga, Kenwin Muthomi, Anthony Mwaniki, Frida Ng'endo and Wilfred Gitonga

Okwako and Gitonga were police officers.

After the the court's verdict, Karanja was escorted to prison under tight security.

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