The murder trial of rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri enters crucial stage Monday, with a confession made by a police informer expected to be presented in court.
Justice Jessie Lesiit allowed the confession by Peter Ngugi, a police informer who narrated how the three were arrested and tortured to death before their bodies were stashed in gunny bags and thrown into Athi River near Donyo Sabuk police post.
The prosecution wants the testimony heard in-camera.
“We don’t want to put lives at risk or jeopardise our case,” said Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji said.
The confession is in two parts, a written statement and a video recording, and Mr Ngugi reportedly details how the three men were tortured and killed.
The court had already heard of an attempt to dispose of Mr Muiruri’s car, which was found on a dirt road in Kikuyu and towed to King’eero Police Station.
The victims were kidnapped after leaving the Mavoko Law Courts on June 23, 2016, then briefly held at the Mlolongo Administration Police post.
Mr Kimani tried to reach out to anyone who could save their lives, including throwing out a piece of paper to a road near the holding cells.
A boda boda rider picked it up, read it and tried calling Mr Muiruri’s wife in vain.
The three were later in the night taken to an open field where they were allegedly tortured to death.
Their bodies were recovered a week later in Ol-Donyo Sabuk, Machakos County.
A post-mortem report presented in court showed that the three had fractured skulls and injuries on the chests, necks and faces.
BLUDGEONED TO DEATH
The report concluded that they had been bludgeoned to death using a blunt object. Their hands had been tied from behind and Kimani’s testicles had been crushed.
Chief Inspector Geoffrey Kinyua, who took the confession from Mr Ngugi, was ready to present it a few months ago but the move was opposed by the defence and especially Mr Ngugi.
After hearing several witnesses, including the doctor who examined Mr Ngugi and prison officials, Justice Lesiit ruled that the confession should be admitted as part of the evidence.
Four Administration Police officers — Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku and Leonard Maina Mwangi — and Mr Ngugi have denied murdering Mr Kimani, Mr Mwenda and Mr Mururi.
Mr Kinyua told the court that Mr Ngugi approached him through a colleague he identified as Inspector Mwangi, wishing to record a confession on August 9, 2016 at around 11am.
He said he recorded the statement because the suspect had information that could aid in investigating the three murders.
Mr Kinyua was then a serious crimes investigator based at the DCI headquarters. He said Mr Ngugi named his younger brother John Mburu Kamau as a nominee but he was not around and the recording was pushed to 2pm.
“I explained to him that the confession would be used as evidence in court and he understood,” he said.
But Mr Ngugi later disowned the 21-page statement, saying he was tortured, assaulted, intimidated and promised a monthly pay of Sh30,000 plus other benefits.