Kenya: Man Who Killed BBC Employee Kate Mitchell Was Engaged

(file photo).
23 November 2021

The Kenyan who allegedly killed a BBC employee in a Nairobi hotel last Friday did so as his fiancée waited for him in their room one floor below, at the same hotel.

Details have emerged that Mr Tamati Mauti, who is suspected to have killed BBC's Project Manager Kate Mitchell on the eighth floor of Ibis Styles Hotel in Westlands, had booked into a hotel room on the seventh floor with his girlfriend, Ms Michelle Akinyi.

The young couple was to wed in December, a plan that will never materialise after Mr Mauti allegedly jumped to his death after his encounter with Ms Mitchell last Friday night.

Ms Akinyi had patiently waited for her boyfriend, who left her in their hotel room as he went to the bar.

The police have established that while at the bar, Mr Mauti and the British national had a few drinks together, then Ms Mitchell left for her room.

Then, in a move whose motive police are yet to establish, Mr Mauti followed the BBC manager and entered her room.

"We suspect that this is when the two engaged in a scuffle that resulted in the death of Ms Mitchell, who after realising things were getting out of control, pressed the room's alarm. This must have spooked Mr Mauti, who, forgetting they were on the eighth floor, jumped out of the window and died," Kilimani Sub County Police Commander Muturi Mbogo told the Nation.

Police records show that Ms Mitchell's room was locked with a chain lock from inside and that the security officers had to call the hotel's technician, who opened the door using a screwdriver.

They found the BBC manager lying down in the bathroom and dialed the St John Ambulance, whose staff quickly arrived at the scene. The paramedics confirmed that Ms Mitchell was dead and observed a stab wound on the left side of her neck and bruises around her eyes.

The hotel's management then called the police, who discovered that the room's window was broken.

"Upon checking what may have happened, another body was discovered on the first floor," part of the police report reads.

After a brief check in the guests' documents at the hotel, the police established that the second dead person was Mr Mauti.

Both scenes were processed and the bodies taken to the mortuary, awaiting post-mortem. This was early morning on Friday.

On the seventh floor, Ms Akinyi, who had no clue what had happened, and had waited the entire night, was worried.

She only got to know of Mr Mauti's death at Kilimani Police Station, where she was taken to record her statement.

"She was beyond shocked when the detectives brought her in for questioning. She quickly identified the body of her boyfriend and this is when we even knew that they had planned to wed this December," Mr Mugo said.

Ms Mitchell's family, through her brother Peter Mitchell, issued a statement saying they were yet to come to terms with her death.

They described her as one who loved her work and was tireless in her efforts to make the world a better place.

"She leaves behind many, many beloved friends and colleagues around the world. We want to extend our sympathies to everyone who knew, worked with and loved her, and our sincere thanks for the many messages of comfort we have received. We ask everyone to respect our family's privacy as we grieve Kate's loss," Mr Mitchell said.

He further revealed that the family was working with the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office and with his sister's colleagues at BBC Media Action to understand what happened.

"The circumstances surrounding her death are still being investigated, and we would ask you to ignore speculation in parts of the press and on social media," he concluded.

The Foreign Press Association, Africa, in a statement to newsrooms, yesterday called on Kenyan investigative agencies to unearth the circumstances surrounding the death.

The statement was issued by the lobby's Kenyan leaders: Kennedy Wandera (chairperson), Douglas Okwach (secretary) and Hiba Morgan (treasurer).

The police are currently working to know what led to the scuffle between Ms Mitchell and Mr Mauti, and are currently looking for the people who had drinks with them at the bar to offer more information.

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