By AGNES OLOO.
On May 15, 2011, long-distance Kenyan runner Samuel Kamau Wanjiru died under mysterious circumstances, with the then-reports claiming that Mr Wanjiuru met his death after he jumped off a balcony, fatally injuring himself.
On February, 2015 newer claims emerged that the Olympic marathon champion was murdered at his Nyahururu home, a court inquest was told.
“The assailant attacked him with a blunt metal object that shattered the back of his skull outside the house,” a former chief government pathologist, Mr Moses Njue, told the inquest into the death of the athlete.
“The attack happened shortly after Mr Wanjiru jumped or after being pushed off the balcony, and may have died on impact from the blunt object,” the pathologist said.
“My son was murdered”
Samuel Wanjiru’s mother, Hannah Wanjiru, testifying in a Nairobi Chief Magistrates court on Monday, March 6, echoed Njue’s claims that her son was fatally hit by a blunt object.
The inquest into the death of the champion resumed Monday, with Mrs Wanjiru being the first to take the witness stand.
Mrs Wanjiru, nearly six years after her son’s death, emotionally narrated to the court that she was called by Samuel Wanjiru’s cousin on the night of the incident that Wanjiru had been rushed to Nyahururu General Hospital in critical condition.
Mrs Wanjiru told the court that later that night, at around 2am, her sister phoned to tell her that Wanjiru had been pronounced dead.
Hannah said she proceeded to Wanjiru’s house, located at the Muthaiga Estate in Nyahururu, the following morning accompanied by her friends.
On arriving at Muthaiga, she said, they saw a blood stained table in the living room before proceeding to the mortuary.
Mrs Wanjiru further told the court that at the mortuary, she found Wanjiru’s wife, Triza Njeri, seated.
She said she greeted her before proceeding to a room where Wanjiru’s motionless body was lying.
The court heard that on viewing the body, Hanna Wanjiru realised that her son had seriously bled from his head.
“Blood was still oozing from the back of his head. It had swollen, and was disfigured; indicating it had been hit hard! I concluded that my son was killed,” said an emotional Hannah Wanjiru.
In her testimony, Hannah Wanjiru said she, thereafter, asked Triza Njeri what had happened.
Njeri, Wanjiru said, told her that she busted Wanjiru with another woman in their bedroom and decided to lock him in the room.
However, according to Njeri, Wanjiru decided to jump out of the bedroom through a balcony, around 40 feet high.
“Wanjiru’s wife had left him”
“Triza Njeri had secretly moved to Ngong on February, 2011 without telling me until May, 2011 when I heard that she had come back,” testified Hannah Wanjiru.
Hannah Wanjiru said: “Triza Njeri’s sister, identified as Wangeci, was found locking herself in Wanjiru’s bedroom to clean up blood.” The court heard.
Hannah Wanjiru told the court that Triza is the one who ordered Wangeci to open the door.
Hannah said she was surprised to see Wangeci in Wanjiru’s bedroom, given Kikuyu customs do not allow for a woman to access her married sister’s bedroom.
Hannah Wanjiru further told the court that “besides blood stains which had been spotted on a table in the living room; and on the bedroom door, they also found two metallic bars in the bedroom”.
Basing her narration on eight CCTV cameras which had been installed within Wanjiru’s residence, Hannah Wanjiru told the court that they noticed out of the eight cameras, only one – which captures the compound from the gate – was functional.
The sole functioning CCTV camera had recorded the occurrences of the fateful night (May 15, 2011). The other seven CCTV cameras were interfered with, a man who had installed the cameras had earlier said.
Basing her narration on CCTV footage, Hannah Wanjiru told the court that the footage showed that Wanjiru came into the compound driving himself in his coach’s vehicle through the main gate; after some time Triza Njeri came in through the small gate. She was then followed minutes later by a strange lady to a place Hannah Wnajiru was.
“After the lady went into the house, the compound was engulfed in darkness as power went off, in the CCTV footage, I counted six men, who had torches with them, coming into the compound,” narrated Hannah Wanjiru.
Still in the dark, Hannah told the court that in the CCTV footage, a car belonging to Wanjiru was driven into the compound by a person she couldn’t identify.
The screen, in which the footage was being watched, remained dark for a while, with no activities, before the lights went on in the compound.
Activities resumed when Triza Njeri was seen to have come out of the house, headed toward the gate as she turned and made some gestures using her hands, a sign that she was also talking to someone at the balcony, the court heard.
According to Hannah Wanjiru, by this time, the compound had been cleared; Triza also left the compound while talking on phone.
While still watching the CCTV footage, Hannah Wanjiru noted that after some time of calm in the compound, three people, she recognized, came into the compound through a small gate.
The three, she said, were a former driver who drove a lorry belonging to Wanjiru; but he had been sacked by Hannah the previous month; the second person was Wanjiru’s brother and the third was Wanjiru’s friend, who was also an athlete.
“On seeing the three in the footage, I asked Triza Njeri what the three had come to do. She told me that they had come to pick Wanjiru. I then enquired how they had learnt that he had fallen from the balcony. Instead of responding, she started crying and left the room – where we were all seated – and she went outside,” narrated Hannah Wanjiru.
The inquest was adjourned due to time constraints. It will resume on May 2017, when Triza Njeri will be expected to tell the court her side of the story.