Kitui court jails 23-year-old man for life for chopping off schoolgirl’s arms

Thursday March 24 2016

A policeman stands guard in a Kitui court on

A policeman stands guard in a Kitui court on March 24, 2016 as 23-year-old Wilson Mwendwa Kyalo listens as ruling is made in case in which he was charged with chopping of schoolgirl's arms after she resisted his advances. Kitui Principal Magistrate Esther Boke jailed him for life. PHOTO | THOMAS WAITA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By THOMAS WAITA
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A 23-year-old man from Kitui convicted of chopping off the arms of a schoolgirl and she resisted his advances has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Kitui Principal Magistrate Esther Boke said that all the evidence that the prosecution presented before the court during trial proved beyond reasonable doubt that Wilson Mwendwa Kyalo had indeed caused grievous harm to Martha Mwende Mbulungo.

Mr Kyalo was accused of attempting to cause the girl’s death by chopping off her arms and severing her breasts and forehead in Kitui Township within Kitui Central on October 21, 2013.

He had, however, vehemently denied involvement in the beastly act which robbed the complainant of both her limbs.

In his written defence submitted to the court, the accused maintained that he was away at a family reunion on the material day but could not produce convincing alibi to support his proposition.

“Although the accused lined up his mother and a friend as his defence witnesses, the two could not ascertain where he was at the time of the incident.

They only testified that he had come home some time after 8pm that day.

NO STRONG ALIBI

“It was clear that the two witnesses did not spend the day with him and therefore could not definitely state where he was or what he was doing before returning to their home later that evening,” Ms Boke noted as she read out the court’s verdict.

Asked for mitigation before the court could sentence him, Kyalo just shook his head and chose to remain silent.

“Putting into consideration the fact that the accused person is a first offender, that the attack changed the complainant’s life permanently, and that the accused person has shown no remorse for his actions, I hereby sentence him to life imprisonment,” the magistrate announced.

Court orderlies immediately escorted the shaken man away and into the court cells before he was put behind bars.

Members of public who crowded the small courtroom listened in evident shock as the magistrate related the victim’s earlier testimony to the court.

According to the magistrate, the complainant was a Form Three student at Yumbisye Secondary School in Kitui when she was attacked with a panga by a person known to her leaving her with permanent disability.

AMOROUS ADVANCES

The victim also told the court that the accused made amorous advances towards her before the attack but she adamantly refused to get into a relationship with him.

“I believe he was trying to get back at me because I had rejected him. I never thought he could be so heartless because we used to be good friends and even worshipped in the same church,” she testified.

Martha Mwende recounted to the court how the accused had requested her to accompany him to a chemist to buy drugs on the fateful day before pouncing on her once they were in a secluded area and ferociously attacked her with a panga.

“He cut my arms off as I shielded my head from the successive panga blows. He left me for dead after inflicting massive injuries on my upper body and head. I had lost consciousness when my mother found me,” she explained.

In a critical condition, Mwende was then rushed to Kitui General Hospital where she was first admitted in the ICU and later, after stabilising, was transferred to Nairobi Women’s Hospital where she was treated for months until her limbs healed completely.

The girl, who did not attend court during delivery of judgment, was admitted to Thika's Joytown Secondary School for the physically handicapped in late January 2016.