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Journalist ‘beaten to death’ in senior policewoman’s house

Thursday November 21 2019
Eric Oloo

'Star' journalist Eric Oloo, who was murdered at the house of Ugunja Police Station Chief Inspector Sabina Kerubo. PHOTO | COURTESY

By CAROLINE WAFULA
By DICKENS WASONGA

A chief inspector of police, her teen daughter, her lover and a maid were Thursday being held by police following the gory killing of a journalist in Siaya County in what is believed to be a tragic love story.

The body of 40-year-old Eric Oloo, a correspondent with the The Star newspaper based in Siaya, was found on a blood-soaked bed in the house of Chief Inspector Sabina Kerubo on Thursday morning.

LOVE TRIANGLE

Detectives were last evening piecing up the journalist’s last moments, after it emerged that he had been attacked and seriously injured in the officer’s house in a scuffle involving two brothers in a love triangle.

Another suspect, a brother of the officer’s lover, also implicated in the journalist’s death, went into hiding and had not been found by last evening.

The journalist’s mother Keziah Oloo and Siaya County police Commander Francis Kooli, told the Nation at the Ugunja Police Station that Oloo and the chief inspector had been living as husband and wife for the past two years. Ms Kerubo also serves as the deputy OCS of the station.

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Police suspect the journalist was attacked in the officer’s rented house in Uhor village, Ugunja, Siaya County, on Wednesday night. The couple had lived there for the past one year.

A witness told the Nation that the officer had arrived home at around 9pm on Wednesday with a man, believed to be her lover, who is a chef and a regular visitor. He often came to cook special meals for the family, the witness said.

WIPED BLOOD

Oloo was at this time in the bedroom sleeping.

The two then left the house shortly after and returned at around midnight, this time accompanied by the man’s brother, also a regular visitor to the house.

A scuffle ensued after the brothers allegedly pulled Oloo from the bedroom and started beating him.

All this while, the officer, her teenage daughter and the house girl were in the house and the officer asked the men to stop fighting in her house.

The brothers allegedly pulled Oloo outside the house, where they continued beating him, before they took him back and placed him on the bed.

According to the witness, the man warmed some water and wiped the blood off the journalist and the floor.

DEEP CUTS

Neighbours said they heard the commotion but did not respond.

It is still not clear how or whether the two brothers left the house or what time Oloo died.

The landlord, Mr Moses Ochieng, who lives a few metres away, said Ms Kerubo walked to his house accompanied by her lover at around 7:30am on Thursday and requested him to help her take a patient to hospital.

“She said her husband was very sick and needed to be taken to hospital. But when I came to the house, I had questions about the state of the man because he appeared to be already dead and had deep cuts on his head, besides other injuries,” he said.

Mr Ochieng claimed that when he asked the officer what had happened to Oloo, she said he banged himself against the wall.

The landlord said he declined to take the journalist to hospital, instead advising the officer to report the matter to the police since she was an officer and the matter was serious.

ON THE RUN

“She was reluctant to inform her colleagues at the station and I insisted it was a police case and went to report the matter to the police myself,” he said.

By the time Ms Kerubo’s colleagues arrived at the scene of the crime, she had left for Ugunja market to fetch a taxi in her lover’s company. Police later took the body to the Ambira Sub-District Hospital mortuary before arresting the man.

“We found him together with the man we are holding in a taxi in Ugunja town where we arrested them,” Ugunja OCPD Ibrahim Muchuma said.

The four suspects in custody, he said, were helping the police with investigations while the fifth suspect was on the run.

The journalist had three deep cuts in his forehead, mid-section and the back of his head.

It is not clear why police did not arrest Ms Kerubo immediately. She proceeded to a chang’aa den, where she was later arrested by police after journalists arrived at the police station.

Before then, the OCPD had told journalists that the officer had been arrested.

THREATENED HIM

The house girl and the officer’s teenage daughter, a high school student, were also taken to the station for questioning and later to the scene of the crime before being taken back to the station.

Oloo’s mother said she received a call from his uncle at around 9am informing her that her firstborn child had been beaten to death.

She confirmed the two were living as husband and wife, although they always quarrelled. They did not have a child.

She revealed Oloo had another wife, from whom he separated after he started cohabiting with Ms Kerubo. Oloo had a three-year-old daughter with his other wife.

Oloo’s mother claimed that sometime this year, Ms Kerubo had followed him to his home after the they quarrelled and threatened him. “They used to fight a lot and she had told me she would finish him,” she claimed.

At the crime scene, his uncle Michael Oyugi displayed a bloodstained shirt that Oloo had worn during the attack and which was retrieved from the officer’s house.

INTERFERENCE

Siaya County police Commander Francis Kooli said the two were known lovers who lived together.

“We are all mourning a friend who has been close to all of us for close to two years. Eric has been a close friend to the police and he has been with us and our colleague for two years,” he said.

He said the couple had no issues before and the police fraternity was shocked by the incident.

“We are all actually shocked by what happened and that is why I have come personally because he has been a very good friend to me, actually all of us work closely with the media fraternity, they are our colleagues,” he said.

The county commander directed investigators from the county headquarters to take up the case from the Ugunja Police Station to avoid interference.

CRUCIAL LEADS

“I have given instructions to the team to carry out investigations from a neutral ground where there would be no interference because I do not want conflicts of interest,” he said, as the suspects and the case were transferred to the county headquarters.

He said detectives had made progress and had crucial leads to the journalist’s killing.

“Yes, there are leads and good information that is coming which gives me hope at least to mourn my colleague and I will do my best because Eric has been close to me and I want to do my best to get the culprits and to the bottom of this,” Mr Kooli said.

“We are questioning the family of our colleague and our colleague too because they have been together. All those who were in that house are under investigations and we shall also question anyone else involved directly or indirectly because this will give us a clear picture of what transpired,” he stated.

FAMILY ISSUES

Eric’s friends described him as a jovial man wo was friendly to all. Before joining the Star, he had worked as a correspondent with Radio Namlolwe and Nation Media Group.

Ms Kerubo’s colleagues, who asked not to be named, described her as a brilliant officer who didn’t like getting in trouble with anyone.

“She loved her work, although she seemed to be bogged down by her family issues," an officer at the Ugunja Police Station said.

Some of her colleagues, however, said she also drunk a lot.

Earlier, senior police officers had remained tight-lipped on the matter. 

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