Kenya: Dutchman Widow Denies Murder Charge

Riziki Cherono Ali, the widow of Herman Rouwenhorst will have to wait till September 16 for her bond ruling after she was charged with the double murder of two people.

Ms Cherono on Thursday appeared before High Court Judge Anne Ong'injo, where she denied the charges.

According to charge sheet presented in court, the woman is said to have murdered Mr Rouwenhorst at Roco apartments, in Shanzu area, within Mombasa County.

Ms Cherono also faced a second count where she is accused of killing night guard Evans Bambo Bokolo.

She denied committing the two offences, which the state said she carried out jointly with others still at large.

In an affidavit to deny her bond, Reuben Mwaniki from Homicide Unit said that more suspects are yet to be arrested in addition to the three, who are already in custody.

"Since the arrest of her accomplices, we have received evidence that the suspect authored the crime by planning, procuring and facilitating the perpetrators for her own benefit," he said.

This followed filing of statement under inquiry by Mary Nekesa Ambani.

The investigators say that Ms Cherono had taken the perpetrators to the house before the incident was committed, showed them the layout and the suspects photographed the bedroom, where the murder was committed.

"The accused person gave a key to the perpetrators to access the home on the material date when the murder was executed. The accused was persistent that the work (murder) must be executed when the murder was not committed on two previous occasions," said the investigator.

"The accused person claims to have been married to the deceased, but we have established what appears as if she was also a wife to Mr William Rouwenhourst, a brother to the deceased.

Prosecution has also tabled in court a marriage certificate indicating that Ms Cherono is married to Mr Rouwenhourst.

To prove this assertion, the state has also tabled a birth certificate indicating that Ms Cherono has a child with Mr Rouwenhourst.

"From the foregoing, it is evident and clear that the accused person cannot be trusted while out on bond," said the investigator.

Mr Mwaniki also told the court that issues raised by Ms Cherono that she is likely to be disinherited of the deceased properties while locked in prison are outside the scope of his investigations.

In a replying affidavit, Ms Cherono has denied killing the Dutchman and the watchman.

"I did not kill, and I am not responsible for the death of my husband and Mr Bokolo. I am most interested to know who did it," she said.

She described the murder charges against her as circumstantial and are supposition speculations and conjuncture.

"I am a scape goat to save face by investigators. I maintain that the charges against me are a product of pressure by the public and the Dutch to show that they are working to solve the murder," claimed the woman.

Ms Cherono has told the judge that the prosecution has not tabled compelling reasons to make the court deny her bond.

She argued that the reasons advanced by the state are not strong enough to impeach her entitlement to bond and or bail.

"I pray that I be admitted on free bond or in the alternative, at the court's fair and judicious discretion, to be allowed and admitted, if possible, to cash bail of Sh100, 000, or on Sh400, 000 bond," she said

Contrary to the police claims, the woman has told the court that she will not interfere with any witness including her children, the house help, and caretaker on what they will say or do in the search for the truth on how her husband died.

"Nothing has been provided to suggest that I have either tried expressly or covertly to influence either the children, house help or caretaker. I have not and will not interfere with any of them," she said.

The woman has maintained that nothing has been exhibited to show any connection between herself and the murder.

"The state should focus on the real killers, who have a case not me. I am being sacrificed to save the investigators' faces in the face of their inability to investigate and find the actual killers. The DPP's case against me is wholly without foundation," she claimed.

"My explanation of what happened, as it relates to me, are compatible with my innocence. I am very interested to have those behind my husband killing established and punished," she added

She alleges that there is nothing that has been tabled by the prosecution that weakens or destroy the inference of her innocence.

"I did not commit the murder. In the alternative, and without prejudice to the truth of what I said, I aver that what I told the investigators and what I say here are plausible, reasonable, and viable," she claimed.

In her narration, the woman said that on the material day, the deceased came home late and complained of a swollen leg.

She then massaged them with warm water as usual.

"We took dinner, few drinks and went to sleep. I was woken by two people deep in the night. Two were standing next to the bed and three others next to my husband's side," she said.

According to her, the five assailants tied them up and demanded for money.

"I was kidnapped and taken out of the house and tied to our car and forced to drive and abandoned near Serena Beach hotel," she said

The woman also said she has family members who can secure her attendance to court when granted bond.

She further said that she cannot escape because she has a property together with her deceased husband.

"I own assets with my husband including developed and undeveloped land parcel, a car and a boat all in Mombasa. The titles, logbooks and related documents are with the investigators. I have no reason to run away," she said

She has also alleged that Mr William has been trying to take away from her some assets and documents.

The apartment where the murder happened can be accessed through three points. She says that it has both the main house where they lived, short term apartments with tenants and that all the occupants have access keys to the facility.

She alleges that keys to the apartment had recently got lost.

Other suspects being held over the murder are Ms Mercy Nasimiyu Masika and Mr Timothy Omondi Ngowe alias Kelvin Omondi.

The court will deliver a ruling on her bond application on September 16.

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