Wanjiru did not die from balcony fall, says doctor

Medical experts zero in on two possible scenarios that could have led to the death of Olympics champion Samuel Wanjiru three weeks ago — and they both point to murder.

Saturday June 4 2011

Photos/JOSEPH KURIA and FILE  Beijing Olympic Games marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru (left) of Kenya displays his gold medal on September 5, 2008. Centre: The balcony at his Nyahururu home where he apparently fell. Right: His wife Terezah Njeri is consoled by a friend outside the town mortuary on May 16, 2011.

Photos/JOSEPH KURIA and FILE Beijing Olympic Games marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru (left) of Kenya displays his gold medal on September 5, 2008. Centre: The balcony at his Nyahururu home where he apparently fell. Right: His wife Terezah Njeri is consoled by a friend outside the town mortuary on May 16, 2011.  

By MUGUMO MUNENE [email protected]

Medical experts have zeroed in on two possible scenarios that could have led to the death of Olympics champion Samuel Wanjiru three weeks ago — and they both point to murder.

Dr Emily Rogena, one of the three pathologists who conducted a postmortem examination on Wanjiru last Friday, says the athlete was not killed by the 14ft plunge from the balcony but a fatal hit to the back of the head, fracturing the skull extensively.

“Taking into consideration the history and the postmortem finding death is attributed to head injuries, secondary to blunt force trauma to the occiput (back of the head).

“The body demonstrates a dual pattern of injuries with features consistent with conscious landing on fours (the hands and knees) and fatal injury at the back of the head,” says Dr Rogena.

The pathologist, a senior lecturer at the University of Nairobi’s School of Medicine, was acting for Ms Hanna Wanjiru, the athlete’s mother.

On Tuesday, Chief Government pathologist Dr Moses Njue questioned the police theory that Wanjiru plunged to death, saying it was not consistent with preliminary post-mortem examination results.

“He landed on his legs and supported himself with his hands. Where did the injury on the back come from?

“We could turn into fools if we don’t ask ourselves this question,” Dr Njue said shortly after measuring the height of the balcony Wanjiru is said to have plunged from.

This means that the marathon star was either hit at the back of the head before falling to the concrete floor or he was hit while on all fours after jumping from the balcony.

However, this raises the question: Who hit the athlete? And what was the motive and why are the police in a hurry to open an inquest?

Ms Wanjiru’s lawyer, Mr Wilfred Konosi, has written to the director of CID demanding fresh investigations into the death.

“It is quite clear that between Terezah Njeri, the watchman and Jane Nduta, there is so much that is hidden, and very many contradictions and the police are not willing to carry out any investigations at all.

“No investigations have been carried out to show the log of all the telephone calls made and received by the three persons to determine whether there was any conspiracy between them to kill the deceased together with other persons. 

“These are some of the leads which our client believes, if followed, will unravel the truth about the death . . .”, Mr Konosi says in his letter to Mr Ndegwa Muhoro, the CID boss.

But the lawyer for Ms Terezah Njeri, Wanjiru’s wife, on Saturday told the Sunday Nation that a joint post-mortem report indicates that the injury to the back of the head was consistent with falling from a height.

“I have confronted (Dr) Njue about Kamau having been killed. That is not what is in the report. Even a pedestrian can explain those injuries.

“We believe that Kamau slipped from the grill to the roof and then to the ground. Any other theory cannot work,” said Mr Wahome.

He said that he was satisfied with the way the police handled the scene of the fall.

Mr Konosi asked why the Nyahururu district hospital mortuary attendants were in a hurry to embalm the body hours after the tragic incident, but Mr Wahome defended the hospital.

“It was an accidental death and the embalming that was done was not unusual. It happens in any mortuary. There was no suspicion about the cause of death and there is no report with the police that Kamau was killed. No one has recorded a statement to that effect,” said Ms Njeri’s lawyer.

So far, police have recorded witness statements from more than 10 people and opened an inquest file, amid claims they were pulling out all stops to stall the probe.

In the letter to the CID director, Mr Konosi accused the Nyahururu police of bias and lack of commitment to concluding the investigations.

“The police at Nyahururu seem to be handling the matter so casually, yet a life has been lost. The scene was not secured by the police once they realised that somebody had died.

“They are very defensive at any inquiry which tends to point out that they are not treating the matter seriously,” he claimed.

But the widow’s lawyer said that the family feud was about the control of Wanjiru’s estate, believed to be worth hundreds of millions of shillings.

“If Njeri says that she is not interested in the estate, this matter would also die off,” said Mr Wahome.

“If they can introduce a scenario that shows that Njeri participated in killing Kamau, then according to the law, she cannot have any part in the estate. It would go to the mother.”

According to the pathologist’s report, the final word about the cause death will be made after further tests are done on body tissues picked by pathologists in laboratories in South Africa and Britain.

However, she says that “I do not envisage much deviation from the current conclusion on the cause of death”.

advertisement