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Widow on murder charge says husband committed suicide

Monday July 15 2019

Lilian Chepchumba

Lilian Chepchumba when she appeared before a Nakuru Court on July 12, 2019 where she is charged with the murder of her husband Ronex Kipkemoi Keter is 2016. She claimed that her husband killed himself and that his family has a history of suicides. PHOTO JOHN NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOSEPH OPENDA
By JOSEPH OPENDA
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An official of the Rift Valley Water Services Board charged with the murder of her husband has told a court that he killed himself and that his family has a history of suicides.

Ms Lilian Chepchumba Keter, who appeared before Justice Joel Ngugi last Friday, shocked the court when she maintained that the cause of her husband’s death was suicide.

She insisted that two of her husband’s relatives had earlier committed suicide.

FAMILY SUICIDES

Ms Chepchumba, who has denied killing Mr Ronnex Kipkemoi Keter, her husband, on April 16, 2016 at their house in Kiamunyi, Nakuru County, said her in-laws had confided to her that two members of the family had killed themselves.

“There are suicide tendencies in that (Mr Keter’s) family. His brother had earlier committed suicide and so did the grandfather. My mother-in-law and father-in-law had confirmed these tendencies,” said Ms Chepchumba.

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She is charged alongside her brother Fredrick Koech kibet and her nephew Daniel Mwaciru Githure.

HANGED HIMSELF

When she appeared to defend herself in court, Ms Chepchumba said her husband killed himself by hanging himself inside a wardrobe crossbar using an electric cable.

According to the widow, her husband, to whom she was married for 20 years, had attempted to kill himself several times before.

“When my husband was drunk he would wear different characters. Before his death in 2016, I found him with a brand new rope and when I informed my mother-in-law, she confirmed the suicide incidences. Later, he tried committing suicide in our bedroom using the same extension cable that he hanged himself with,” narrated Ms Chepchumba.

TROUBLED MARRIAGE

In her passionate appeal to the court for acquittal, the woman said she had never thought of ending her spouse’s life despite their troubled marriage.

The court heard that the man always became violent towards his wife whenever he was drunk.

The widow demonstrated to court how brutal her husband would be to the extent that he knocked out her four teeth and burnt her on the stomach with a hot iron box.

She showed the court the artificial teeth she was wearing after the attack by her husband.

“He used to beat me up when drunk. I lost four of my teeth in the process and I also have scars on my stomach where he burnt me with a hot iron box,” said Ms Chepchumba.

VIOLENT

On the fateful day, according to the woman, Mr Keter was drunk and became violent as usual. She said she took her children away that evening and went to report to the police that her husband was trying to commit suicide.

After reporting to the Kiamunyi AP camp, she was asked to go pick police officers manning a road block but she found that they were only two and they declined to accompany her.

After this, she said they decided to go back home and lock the gate and then go to seek shelter elsewhere but were shocked to find people in their compound. Her husband had committed suicide.

CASE TO ANSWER

Ms Chepchumba and her two co-accused were put on their defence after the court found that they had a case to answer.

The prosecution claims the suspects could have strangled Mr Keter to death.

Mr Keter’s father, Mr Ramis arap Keter, who testified earlier, told the court that his son had complained to him that his wife had an element of infidelity.

The hearing will proceed on October 11.