Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wanjiru remains head for final resting place

Terezah Njeri breaks down after viewing the remains of her husband, Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru, at the Lee Funeral Home June 11,2011. He will be buried at Gatimu village, Nyahururu. WILLIAM OERI 

By OLIVER MATHENGE omathenge@ke.nationmedia.com

The remains of Olympic champion Samuel Wanjiru left the Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi at early Saturday for burial in Nyahururu.

Earlier plans to airlift his remains to the burial service venue aborted after the police chopper was reassigned for other duties.

This caused a two-hour delay. The issue was later sorted and the body was taken to Nyahururu by road accompanied by the family of the deceased led by the late Wanjiru’s wife Terezah Njeri.

Relative, friends and athletes who worked with the late Wanjiru started streaming to the Lee Funeral Home as early as 6am. But only close family were allowed into the funeral home’s compound while the others including journalists were locked out.

Security was tight at the mortuary. Everyone who got in was first vetted to confirm their relation to Wanjiru.

Among those present included world women marathon champion Catherine Ndereba and Athletics Kenya secretary general David Okeyo.

Emotions ran high when the coffin carrying the late Wanjiru’s body was put on public display. There was a general air of panic as family and friends remained vigilant over possible chaos due to the controversy that followed the athlete’s death.

Wanjiru died on May 15 after falling off a balcony at his Nyahururu home following a quarrel with his wife. But Wanjiru’s mother, Hannah has claimed that post-mortem results point to foul play.

Her move to seek a court injunction stopping Ms Njeri from removing her late son’s body from the Lee Funeral home or interring it until investigations are concluded was rejected.

The family lawyer Ndegwa Wahome said that he had sent emissaries on Friday to convince Wanjiru’s mother to attend her son’s burial which she had threatened to boycott.

“We do not see anything that is going to interfere with the proceedings. If Wanjiru’s mother wanted to cause chaos, she would not have gone to court. She went there because she wanted everything to proceed legally and the law said that Trizah should go and bury her husband,” he said Saturday.

The burial will take place at the marathoner's land some 7km from Nyahururu town on the Nyahururu-Gilgil road.

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