Author’s new questions on how Wanjiru died
Posted Sunday, July 29 2012 at 23:30
If speculation were currency, Samuel Wanjiru would still be raking in millions of shillings from his grave.
Since his death on May 15, 2011, the question has been who wanted the young man who won Kenya its first Olympic marathon gold in Beijing 2008 dead?
To police, Wanjiru killed himself. His widow Triza blames it on a fatal fall from the balcony, while his mother, Hannah, insists police conspired with her daughter-in-law to kill her Sammy.
Now a new book warns we may never know the truth, partly due to errors of omission and commission by the police in the first six hours of the tragedy.
Dutch journalist Frits Conijn, who spent weeks in Kenya investigating the circumstances that led to Wanjiru’s death, says the investigation was in a shambles.
Witnesses gave contradicting statements, police did not question all the suspects, and the scene of crime was never cordoned off.
Chief government pathologist Moses Njue gave the cause of death as “blunt force trauma” to the back of the head. The same opinion was given by Dr Emily Rogena, a senior lecturer at the Department of Human Pathology, University of Nairobi, who was appointed by the athlete’s mother.
“The body demonstrates a dual pattern of injuries with features consistent with conscious landing on all fours (the hands and knees) and fatal injury at the back of the head,” she said.
Fresh twist to the saga
But a new biography of Wanjiru by Mr Conijn, adds a fresh twist to the saga.
Mr Conijn spoke to a pathologist who warns Wanjiru had other suspicious injuries other than the wound at the back of his head. In the book Running on Empty:
The life and Triumphs of Samuel Kamau Wanjiru, the pathologist says he found “suspect” wounds on Wanjiru’s face.
While Dr Frank van de Goot of the Centre for Forensic Pathology does not categorically point at clear proof of murder, he raises questions about a wound under his left chin.
“If the wound had been above his eye, it would be easy to associate it with the fall. When landing on the back of his head, his skullcap was probably displaced and thereby the top of his eye socket. That’s a fairly normal pattern in such events. However, the wound is on the underside, it could have arisen in a fight.”
Key witnesses are also said to have provided conflicting statements about the events of that fateful day.
“This is believed to have aroused great suspicion. In one interview, a witness purported to have discovered Wanjiru and Nduta in the living room watching television and in another one, she confessed to have found them in the bedroom,” says the book published by Moran Publishers.
In another occasion, Triza confessed to have learnt of the death the next morning, yet she was reportedly at the police station on the fateful night.
Role of the watchman