The hearing of a murder case against Naftali Njami Kinuthia, accused of killing Moi University medical student Ivy Wangeci in cold blood on April 9, 2019, has started after five failed attempts.
Five witnesses including Wangeci’s mother and a classmate testified before Eldoret High Court Judge Stephen Githinji on Thursday.
An emotional mother, Winfred Waithera told the court that her firstborn daughter in a family of three was a hard-working, focused and self-driven girl, who was in her sixth and last year of medical school.
“She was obedient and soft-spoken. She would not argue with anyone even if she didn’t agree with them, not even with her siblings or me,” recounted Waithera.
She disputed claims that the suspect, Kinuthia, was her boyfriend who used to shower her daughter with goodies.
Further, she said that she only knew Kinuthia as a pupil who schooled in Joyland Academy with her daughter before she transferred to another school.
Waithera maintained she always provided for her daughter’s academic and basic needs alongside Wangeci’s father, adding that their daughter had not introduced them to any man as her boyfriend.
“We always provided everything for our daughter. No one else did, and if anyone sent her money, then what could be the motive? In addition, our daughter wasn’t in any relationship that we knew of,” said Waithera.
She told the court that she had communicated with her daughter two days before her murder, and she had not reported any threats to her by anyone.
She only recounted one instance when her daughter called her with a different line informing her that it was her new phone number, although she did not provide reasons for changing it.
Dr Andrew Koinange, who was Wangeci’s classmate and who was walking by her side on the day she was murdered, recounted how the accused attacked Wangeci with an axe.
Koinange told the court that he was walking with Ivy heading to class from the university hostels when they decided to grab some food in a cafe on the footpath just next to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH).
But on their way, he saw someone creeping right behind him, holding up an axe.
“I ran towards the hostel, but Ivy fell down. I tripped and when I turned to look back, I saw the attacker hit Ivy’s head twice with the axe. Afterwards, he attempted to run away but a crowd that was forming tried to stop him and he started swinging the axe against them,” said Koinange.
He said that the perpetrator was donning a grey cap, light blue shirt and a dark grey jacket, which the prosecution presented as exhibits in court, alongside the axe and knife which were recovered at the scene.
Another witness, Jackson Ng’etich, an Eldoret-based farmer, told the court that he was from a medical checkup at St Luke’s Hospital and was walking to Eldoret town at around 10am when heard a scuffle about 10 metres in front of him.
“I saw a slim man attacking a woman clad in a white dust coat. He attacked her twice and I tried throwing a stone at him to stop him from further attacking the woman, but he ran towards me with a knife in his hand and I tried to avoid him,” said Ng’etich.
Ng’etich added that before the accused was arrested, he was surrounded by boda boda men who were pelting stones at him.
Wangeci’s uncle John King’ori testified stating that their family had been called by the school dean, informing them of the death of their daughter and that he had gone to the MTRH morgue to identify her body.
Dr Benson Macharia, a pathologist at the MTRH, said that the autopsy conducted on the deceased on April 10, 2019 showed that she suffered deep cuts on the left side of her head and neck.
“The cause of death was hypovolemic shock due to excessive bleeding since almost all the blood was lost,” said Dr Macharia.
The hearing was adjourned to July 22, when more witnesses will testify.