Kenya: School Principal Was Killed By Abductors, Widow Claims

19 October 2020

The trial of Ms Jane Muthoni, the former headmistress of Icaciri Secondary School in Kiambu who allegedly hired killers in November 2016 to kill her husband Mr Solomon Mwangi began on Monday before Kiambu High Court Judge Joel Ngugi.

By the time he met his death, Mr Mwangi was the principal of Kiru Boys Secondary School in Murang'a county.

On Monday, Ms Muthoni, his widow, appeared before the court alongside her co-accused Mr Issac Ng'ang'a.

At some point, they exchanged pleasantries and Ms Muthoni even offered Mr Ng'ang'a a fruit during a break in court proceedings.

"Have you taken enough photos or you still want so more, I pose well?" Ms Muthoni, who was accompanied by her daughter, told this writer when she noticed that he was taking photos of her and her-co-accused.

During cross-examination by the prosecution, Ms Muthoni claimed that her husband was abducted by killers who demanded ransom.

Murder plot

She added that on November 6, she had received a call from the said abductors who later switched off their phones when they noticed that they were being tracked after she reported to the police.

However, she could not explain to the court how much the abductors were demanding from her so as set free her husband.

Ms Muthoni also told the court that her husband was not murdered on November 6, 2016, or one November 9, 2016, as claimed in court, given they talked on the said dates.

She also denied participating in the murder plot.

At one time, her lawyer kept interrupting as the prosecution made a point.

"Why pay a lawyer and come analyse everything for him. I will not tolerate it," High Court Judge Joel Ngugi told the defence team.

Ms Muthoni is being held at Lang'ata Women's Prison while her co-accused is being held at Industrial Area Remand Prison after the prosecution opposed their cash bail applications claiming that if released, they will interfere with witnesses.

Joseph Njuguna, alias Karis, a convict-turned-state witness who blew the lid on the murder plot told police in his confession that he had been contacted by a woman, only identified as Damaris, for a well-paying job.

Damaris had been contracted by Ms Muthoni - now the accused - to hire the killers.

Love affair

Ms Muthoni claimed that her husband was having an illicit affair with another woman who was an M-Pesa shop attendant.

Mr Njuguna is currently serving a five-year jail term at the Kamiti Maximum Prisons for manslaughter.

Mr Njuguna had told detectives and the court the that the initial murder plot, whose mastermind was a man only identified as 'Njiru', was to kill a female M-Pesa shop attendant in Kiria-ini. Ms Muthoni had accused the woman of having an affair with her husband.

Mr Njuguna told detectives that he had been promised Sh100.000.

But the murder plot change after the killers visited their supposed target in Murang'a and cosmetically ordered for a soft drink then left.

Mr Njuguna confessed to detectives that they dropped the idea to kill the M-Pesa shop attendant because the ground was not conducive for eliminating her.

Her shop was adjacent to an Equity Bank and a police Station, which made it risky to them.

The next idea they hatched, Mr Njuguna told the court in his confession, was to kill the Kiru Boys Secondary School principal.

He was drugged by his wife who later handed him over to his killers who led him into a forest and strangled him using a rope.

Mwangi's body was later recovered in a coffee farm in Juja, Kiambu county following a search led by his wife.

The murder plot leaked after Ms Muthoni failed to pay the hired killers a balance of Sh300,000.

Hearing of the case continues on Wednesday.

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