Sheila Wanjiku Kibinge, found guilty of murdering her husband, appears in court
A Kenyan businesswoman based in the United States accused of shooting and killing her husband three years ago has been found guilty of the charges by a Kenyan High Court.
Justice Jessie Lesiit on Monday found Sheila Wanjiku Kibinge guilty of murdering her husband, Leonard Kibinge Kiruri on April 15, 2014 at Gitaru village, Kikuyu constituency in Kiambu County.
The Judge noted that there was no direct evidence linking Wanjiku to the murder because the weapon used in the crime was never recovered, but circumstantial evidence and inconsistencies in Wanjiku’s account of events were her undoing and her innocence was not sufficiently proven.
"The murder weapon was not recovered and produced in court. Failure to do so was, however, not fatal to the prosecution’s case as police were not at the scene during the incident and the accused had time to dispose of the weapon," Justice Lesiit said.
Testifying before the court, Wanjiku claimed her husband was kidnapped that night and it was the kidnappers who murdered him. She said she walked away after hearing a blast before their car crashed into a fence.
Wanjiku said she did not check on her husband who was driving the car before it crashed, a fact which the judge faulted.
The Judge noted that it was interesting that after the incident, she bypassed Kikuyu Police Station, which is a few meters from the scene of incident and opted to report the ‘kidnapping’ at Central Police Station in Nairobi. "The accused by-passed Kikuyu Police Station and other nearer stations to go report the alleged kidnapping at Central…this was just an attempt to buy time so as to delay the process of investigations that she knew would follow."
Wanjiku was found to have changed her clothes several times between the time incident happened and the time of reporting at the police station. Witnesses said she appeared calm and did not seem to have been shaken by the incident.
She told the court that she traveled to Kenya to process a visa for her husband so they would re-locate to the US. She said she entered Kenya through Uganda but the court could not find a point of entry stamp on her passport as required by law.
A taxi driver who ferried her from Kikuyu Police Station said Wanjiku appeared shaken and disturbed and he heard a click under the Buibui she had worn, adding that this terrified him so much.
"The accused explained that the click was the buckle of her belt as she counted coins to pay him," the judge said.
The Judge said the accused's explanation that she was sleeping when their car veered off the road does not state her indifference to the deceased.
"I also considered the evidence of two witnesses who lived near the fence the deceased crashed into," the judge said. "The witnesses said they heard three loud blasts and there is no way the accused can feign ignorance that three gunshots were fired since she was seated right next to her husband at the time."
The judge said she considered the evidence of one of the prosecution witnesses who was the first to see Wanjiku leaving the scene of incident. The witness said she was calm and collected.
"That is someone who was not affected by what had just happened…I find that the accused's conduct after the shooting was the conduct of someone with a guilty mind." The Judge said.
Justice Lesiit cancelled Wanjiku’s bond and ordered that she remain in custody until sentencing. She faces either a mandatory life in prison or death penalty.