Police taken to task over no-suspect claim in Careen Chepchumba murder inquest

Thursday January 12 2017

Ex-Television anchor Louis Otieno in a pensive mood during a press conference in Nairobi on February 21, 2012 where he said that he was not guilty of the death of his then girlfriend Careen Chepchumba Kili. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ex-Television anchor Louis Otieno. Police were on January 11, 2017 taken to task for declaring that the former TV news was not a suspect in the murder of Careen Chepchumba. FILE PHOTO | PHOEBE OKALL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By BENSON MATHEKA
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Police were on Wednesday taken to task for declaring that former TV news anchor Louis Otieno was not a suspect in the murder of Careen Chepchumba, the Kenya Power employee whose body was found in her apartment in Nairobi’s Kilimani area about five years ago.

Mr Otieno has since denied killing Careen.

On Wednesday, a court wondered how police decided that Mr Otieno was not involved before receiving three crucial reports.

An investigator, Senior Sergeant Maobe, told an inquest into the murder that they forwarded the file to the Director of Public Prosecutions because they did not link Mr Otieno to the February 14, 2012, murder.

But the magistrate asked him what made the police decide there was no suspect in the murder.

Mr Maobe said the evidence gathered from witnesses could not link a suspect to the death of Careen.

He admitted that by the time the decision to forward the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions was made, he had not received a report from Cyber Crime on a laptop and mobile phone details retrieved from Careen’s apartment.

A report of samples taken from Mr Otieno and the deceased’s body was prepared last year though the samples were forwarded in 2012.

NAIL SAMPLES

Ms Ann Wangechi Nderitu, from the Government Chemist, said the report revealed that the nail clippings purported to be from Otieno were actually from Careen and blood samples from her bed did not match those from him.

“The nail samples marked as that of the suspect Louis Otieno marched those marked as of the deceased Careen Chepchumba,” Ms Nderitu testified.
She attributed the delay in preparing the report to understaffing and lack of chemicals in the government chemist. Blood samples taken from Careen ‘s bed were also tested and did not match those taken from Mr Otieno, she stated.

Mr Maobe said even though an autopsy report indicated that Ms Careen was strangled to death, police did not get evidence that could nail a suspect.
He however told the inquest that Mr Otieno was a regular visitor to Ms Careen’s apartment.

He was also taken to task after he told the inquest that he did not bother to confirm Mr Otieno’s claims that he was in Kajiado the day Careen was killed.

“ What did you do to verify what the suspect told you, did you track his phone and if it was switched off, did you bother to establish its location?” a family lawyer asked. “ No I did not,” he replied.

It also emerged that the apartment was not secured after her body was taken to the mortuary. Mr Maobe who took over the investigations from his colleague three days after the body was discovered told the inquest that he was taken to the scene by Careen’s brother who had the key to her sister’s apartment. The inquest will resume January 24.