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They gulped energy drinks, smoked cigarettes: How toilet paper sold out Willie Kimani killers

After calling lawyer’s wife, boda boda rider threw away the toilet paper and his wife ignored the message assuming someone was conning her

The guilty are afraid: Police Sergeant Fredrick Leliman, Sylvia Wanjiku, police officers Leonard Mwangi and Stephen Cheburet were charged with the sickly murder of human rights lawyer Willie Kimani in 2016. Only Mwangi was not found guilty by Justice Jessie Lessit. Kimani was defending boda boda rider Josephat Mwenda who had accused Leliman of shooting him for no reason at a traffic stop in 2015.

By Pascal MJ Owade

Contributing Editor/Investigations

The killers of lawyer Willie Kimani consumed energy drinks while smoking cigarettes before executing him, his client and taxi driver.
The lead investigator, Robert Owino, told the court as Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were being executed; they were dropping cans of energy drinks and cigarette butts at the scene of crime, a thicket at Soweto in Mlolongo town, Machakos County.
According to Owino, two cans of Shark energy drink, a can of Red bull, an empty bottle of mineral water, and a cigarette butts littered the crime scene inside an isolated farm belonging a Mr Njoroge and his wife Agnes Wanyua.
Owino explained that grass at the crime scene was cluttered, had uprooted weeds, a sin of struggle before the killings.

Pathologist Andrew Gachie said Kimani had 14 injuries including crushed skull and genitals. Mwendwa had head, neck and chest injuries. Muiruri had a rope tied round his neck. Five suspects were charged with the murders: police informer Peter Ngugi, police officers Fredrick Leliman, Stephen Cheburet, Sylvia Wanjiku and Leonard Mwangi. Only Mwangi was not found culpable by Lady Justice Jessie Lessit.

Ngugi told the court that all their deaths involved suffocating the victims with polythene bags

Spilling the beans: Police informer Peter Ngugi recounted chilling details in court of how extrajudicial killings involving cops take place. He was against killing Willie Kimani since he had been formally booked and his wife had been contacted thus exposing the entire operation and its masterminds.

Ngugi told the court that all their deaths involved suffocating the victims with polythene bags and strangling them with rope before dumping the bodies into the Ol Donyo Sabuk River in Athi River.
DCI George Kinoti once told Kenyans that murders were easy crimes to solve as long as many people were involved. Clue to finding Willy Kimani’s killers and arresting them was provided by a note written on a toilet paper.
Kimani wrote the note while they were being held at Syokimau Police Post. He then threw it out the window where it was found by a boda boda rider. The note had the cellphone number of Kimani’s wife and which the rider called that June 23, 2016.

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After calling Kimani’s wife, the boda boda threw the toilet paper away. His wife, however, ignored the message assuming that someone was trying to con her. But it was only when Kimani failed to return home in the evening that she informed his employer, the International
Justice Mission, about the phone call. Through the International Justice Mission, Kimani was representing Mwenda, who had been shot by police officers Fredrick Leliman on the leg.

Owino, the prosecutor, traced the boda boda rider, but alas! he had discarded the toilet paper

Kimani’s father, Paul Kinuthia, has been following the case for six years. He told the Guardian last year: “I have a wound in my heart. As long as this case is in court, the wound won’t heal. Each year that goes by is a reminder of how my son and two others were killed.” Kimani’s wife, Hannah Kimani said, although getting justice “would not bring Kimani back, it will bring comfort to our hearts.”

The message from the boda boda rider led his wife and fellow lawyers to Syokimau Police Post.
Leliman feared he have been sacked from the Police Service had the court case which was heavily against him, had continued. He thus found a permanent solution in roping in fellow offices and a police informer in the murder plans on Kimani and Mwenda. Muiruri, the taxi driver who took the two to the Mavoko Law Courts where the case was being heard, was collateral damage.
Owino, the prosecutor, traced the boda boda rider, but alas! he had discarded the toilet paper. But it was later found and analysis showed the handwriting was Kimani’s proving he had been locked inside the Syokimau Police Post as the witness statement from the boda boda rider indicated.

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“This confirmed that he and the other victims had been confined. The note indicated that the three had been detained at the AP Camp and they were asking for assistance, fearing for their lives.”

Leliman could hear none of it and instructed Ngugi to get them out of the boot one by one

Sober as a Judge: “I am satisfied that there was no other reasonable hypothesis that can be made on the basis of the evidence before me except that of guilt,” Lady Justice Jessie Lessit ruled. Their sentencing will be announced at a later date.

After interrogation, Leliman, who was based at the Syokimau Police Post and who had masterminded the murders, could not explain his whereabouts when Kimani went missing. Leliman and his accomplices could not have been arrested had he listened to the advice of police informer Peter Ngugi, who has been turned into a State witness. Ngugi thought that since the suspects had been formally booked at the Police Post would expose their whereabouts considering a wife to one of them had already been contacted through a cellphone thus exposing the entire operation and those involved. Ngugi was for the release of all the suspects and was not in favour of them being executed, but after three hours of deliberations in between drinking the energy drinks and smoking cigarettes, Leliman could hear none of it and instructed Ngugi to get them out of the boot one by one.

The hearing ended before Judge Jessie Lesiit in a case in which Ngugi testified against his accomplices.

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