Cop in lawyer Willie Kimani murder case jailed for life
Police officer in lawyer Willie Kimani murder case has been jailed for life.
In a judgement delivered by Justice Jessie Lesit on Friday, February 3, Fredrick Leliman was sentenced to death while his co-accused persons Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku, and Peter Ngugi got 30, 24, and 20 years respectively.
The officers were on July 22, 2022 found guilty of the murder of Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri.
One of the officers, Leonard Mwangi, was acquitted after the court found there was insufficient evidence linking him to the murder.
They were charged in 2016.
The victims were kidnapped after leaving Mavoko Law Courts on June 23, 2016. Their bodies were found in Ol Donyo Sabuk River days after they went missing.
While convicting them, the judge ruled the prosecution had proven that they acted with the common intention of harming the lawyer, his client, and their taxi driver.
'Kimani killed for cover up'
While convicting Leliman, the judge said he had a motive to kill Mwenda after he made a report against him to Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA)
The Court noted that Leliman wanted to protect his job and that’s why he went for Mwenda.
According to the judge, the lawyer and the taxi driver were killed to cover up the murder of Mwenda.
For police officer Wanjiku, the court noted that she was a principal offender since she knew that the three deceased persons were locked in the cells and failed to register them in the Occurrence Book (OB).
“She was at the post from 9am to past 7pm which at the time the three were at the cells. The fact that she was manning the OB and had the desk, she was a principal offender as she denied knowledge of the incident.
"They were held in the station without OB entry, and instead of explaining, she decided to deny,” Justice Lesiit said.
She noted that she analysed a total of 117 exhibits and evidence given by 46 prosecution witnesses and 34 defense witnesses to reach her decision.
The judge told the court that she had written more than 6,000 pages of proceedings since the trial started and it is the biggest file in her career.
Ngugi, who was also found guilty, had narrated to the court how the murder was plotted and how it was executed.
“Evidence is overwhelming...they were murdered...bodies dumped into the river to make it difficult to recover them...his evidence is unreasonable and I reject it in total,” Justice Lesiit said in her verdict.