Pathologist: Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru was killed

Tuesday February 10 2015

Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru was murdered at his Nyahururu home, an inquest into the circumstances surrounding his death was told on Tuesday.

The assailant attacked him outside his house with a blunt metal object that shattered the back of the athlete’s skull shortly after he jumped off or was pushed from the balcony and may have died on impact, a former Chief Government Pathologist Moses Njue said.

The doctor ruled out a possible suicide theory that the police advanced after the 2011 incident.

He stated that four of Mr Wanjiru’s colleagues and his relatives had raised eyebrows when the nature of injuries found on the athlete’s body failed to corroborate a clinical resume presented earlier as the cause of his death.

Dr Njue told the Nairobi Chief Magistrate Hannah Ndung’u that he led a team of forensic pathologists to the athlete’s home after serious doubts and discrepancies arose and discounted a theory that the Olympic champion died from a fall.

The doctor said the height from which Mr Wanjiru fell scientifically is not enough to generate the momentum to kill him.


“The story advanced earlier was not believable...the injuries on his head were massive and that is what caused his death. It was independently inflicted,” Dr Njue told the inquest.

He said a report that Mr Wanjiru jumped off his balcony, was picked up while still alive and taken to hospital where he died within an hour, was doubtful.

Dr Njue said a team of pathologists found a massive blunt object trauma at the back of his head, which had cracked his skull and spilled his brains into spinal column.

“He had bruises consistent with a fall which we found on his knees and hands but the impact of a rebound fall backwards would not be enough to cause the extent of injuries we observed on his skull.

“The deceased landed on his four limbs, cat-style, and then a fatal head injury was inflicted independently,” the doctor said.

He said that an initial examination of the corpse had revealed “a patterned abrasion on the left cheek with three visible parallel lines.”

“The deceased also had an abrasion below the left eye but what drew our attention was the swelling at the back of his head,” Dr Njue said.

He said there was a fracture on Mr Wanjiru’s skull extending from the base, splitting into two and extending to his backbone. “It was longer on the left more than on the right,” Dr Njue said.

The doctor said the impact of the blunt strike against the skull would have caused instantaneous immobility meaning, Mr Wanjiru’s assailants accosted him immediately after he fell or jumped from the balcony.

“The cause of death can be said to be a massive blunt object force injury to the back of the head,” the doctor said.

He said the maximum height associated with deaths even in intoxication is 30 feet or more and generally when it is three times that of an individual but in Wanjiru’s case its was 16 feet.

The hearing continues.