BY AGNES OLOO FOR WWW.EDAILY.CO.KE.
A Nairobi Murder Court on Thursday, July 26 found a Buruburu businessman guilty of killing his wife. The murder incident took place at House No. 236 Waihura Court in Buruburu Phase 5 on December 12, 2014.
Justice Stella Mutuku ruled that Erastus Odhiambo Ngura willfully fatally shot his lawyer wife Linda Wanjiku Irungu in the head after a disagreement.
“There was a gun wound in Irungu’s back, internal bleeding, and there was death,” read the judge.
Justice Mutuku observed there were contradictions between the prosecution witnesses at some point, but she held that at least three key eye witnesses were consistent in their testimonies; and related well with the occurrence at the scene of shooting.
The court heard that on the night of December 12, 2014, Ms Irungu, who was popularly referred to as Shiko, went out to party with her lady friends at a popular nightspot in Kilimani before relocating to another nightclub.
Ms Irungu was to celebrate her birthday a few days ahead.
Ms Irungu’s husband, Erastus Odhiambo, had earlier (in the evening) requested she joins him on a date, a request Ms Irungu declined, claiming she was exhausted from the day’s work and wanted to go home and rest.
The court heard that Mr Odhiambo, who at the time was hanging out with his male friends, cut short his convention and went home to look for Ms Irungu. He, however, did not find her.
Mr Odhiambo, thereafter, went to their nightclub known as Latitude Lounge, which is located in Buruburu, to look for Ms Irungu. She wasn’t there.
“In my view, the accused person was not a happy man that night. It is natural reaction of a human being after what happened that night,” said Justice Mutuku.
The court heard that Ms Irungu returned home at around 3am on December 12, 2014, and was confronted by her husband, who enquired where she had been.
An argument ensued, with Mr Odhiambo said to have ordered Ms Irungu to leave their matrimonial home for her parents’ home located in a nearby estate in Buruburu.
The judge said Ms Irungu hurriedly went inside her car and ignited the engine in preparation of leaving.
Mr Odhiambo spotted the accused, followed and blocked her from driving out of Waihura Court Phase 5.
The court heard that Mr Odhiambo pulled Ms Irungu out of the car, while holding her braids.
A confrontation ensued, as they wrestled. Mr Odhiambo was, however, overpowered by Ms Irungu, who had been joined by her younger sister, Diana Irungu, whom they were living with. Diana was a university student at the time.
The accused, however, whipped out a gun, a Ceska pistol which was already cocked, and shot his wife at close range as Ms Irungu and her younger sister were attempting to flee the area.
According to the eye witnesses, there was altercation between the two before a single gunshot sound was heard and the deceased was heard shouting: “Umeni-shoot?” before falling to the ground.
The court heard that Ms Irungu was pronounced dead on arrival at Jamaa Hospital.
A postmortem exam showed that the deceased had a bullet wound on the upper right side of her back.
The court further heard that Mr Odhiambo prevented Ms Irungu’s family from rushing her to hospital.
Ms Irungu’s father had arrived at the scene. It took time before Mr Odhiambo heeded to neighbours’ persuasion that Ms Irungu be rushed to hospital.
According to the judgement, the convict did not deny that he was at the scene at that particular time. He, however, claimed that he fired the bullet into the air, and not at the deceased; a defense which the court found to be irrelevant.
The 27-year-old lawyer was living with her then 1-year-old son and two house-helps, who witnessed the murder.
Prosecution had said the killing was “willful”, “deliberate” and “premeditated”. Fourteen witnesses testified in the case against Mr Odhiambo.
Ms Irungu’s family claimed that Mr Odhiambo had not yet paid dowry for Ms Irungu, and that they were only living together and were bound by a child. Mr Odhiambo, on the other hand, maintained he had paid dowry in part for Ms Irungu.
The accused also had another wife (the first one), who was living in Buruburu.
Ms Irungu was buried on December 20, 2014 at her parents’ rural home in Murang’a County.
Mr Odhiambo is facing multiple charges of altering a civilian firearm licence and being found in possession of the firearm used in the murder.
Mr Odhiambo, who has been out on bond, has been taken to prison awaiting his mitigation to the court before sentencing.
He will be sentenced on July 31.