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CO-ACCUSED STILL ON THE RUN

Meru NYS man charged with murder, 20 months on run

Denied bail after probation report said he is a threat to community, community out for his blood

In Summary

• Family of the deceased says he has been hiding for more than a year and was only traced after joining Meru Polytechnic. 

• Court orders he sits his Knec exam in seclusion and under tight security. 

A National Youth Service officer who went into hiding after allegedly killing a man was charged in Meru High Court.

Loyford Munene, 26, denied killing Benson Mutugi.

Munene joined NYS in 2017 and is studying Automotive Engineering  at Meru National Polytechnic, 

The court heard that on December 18, 2017, at about 8:30pm at Kianjogu location in Imenti South, the accused and another person claimed to be his brother, murdered Mutugi.

Meru presiding judge Alfred Mabeya denied bail. The probation report was negative; it said the accused was an alleged criminal, a threat to the community and the community wanted vengeance.

The prosecution said Mutugi and a certain Dedan Bundi met the accused as they looked for a boda boda to travel home at Mururiri. 

Munene and another man Eric were to ferry the two for Sh80. On arrival at Katangugi market, they paid as agreed.

The two entered a nearby bar and while they were playing a slot machine, Eric and Munene allegedly attacked them,maccusing them of stealing their radio from the motorbike, the court heard.

A fight ensued and Mutugi and Bundi were left seriously injured. The following day, Mutugi's body was found in a napier grass farm.

The prosecution said the accused was hiding for more than a year.

Police said they had been hunting him.

But judge Mabeya questioned the police and probation report after the accused's counsel Ngugi told the court that the allegations are not true.

“If the police and family were looking for him, they would have inquired into his whereabouts and it would have been disclosed,” Ngugi argued. 

The victim’s family lawyer identified as Kaimenyi told the court the accused and his brother were on the run and have never been seen in the village since the killing in December 2017. He said Munene was only found when the family traced him to the institution.

“The family first heard he was at Voi but he was not there. It later received the information he was at Meru National Polytechnic and reported to the police and he was arrested on May 17. Having been at large for almost two years it shows he is a flight risk,” Kaimenyi said.

The court ordered that the accused be detained at Meru Prison and sits his Knec examination on July 8-26 under tight security and in seclusion. 

“I presume the accused is innocent until proven guilty. If he was studying at the institution, why it was difficult for police to arrest him for more than 20 months? It is not still clear where the accused was for five months before he enrolled at the polytechnic,” judge Mabeya said.

He told the family of the accused to apply for an appeal of the bond terms at anytime. 

“The accused is ordered not to interact with members of the public save for his lecturers, tutors and examination officials,” Mabeya ordered.

The probation reports claimed that the accused, who was accompanied by a handful of his colleagues from Meru National Polytechnic, had allegedly committed another murder.

“Most members of the community who were interviewed described him as a threat to the public. They alleged that together with his brother, he murdered another man whom they suspected to be cohabiting with his brother’s wife and dumped him at Kiune Primary School gate, a few meters from their homestead." the report said. 

"They vowed to eliminate him before he does more harm if he is released on bond. He is not accepted in the community, hence, he is a risk to himself and the community." 

In August 2017, he successfully completed NYS training and was posted at Witu Field Station. He was then selected to do an Automotive Engineering course at Meru National Polytechnic.

“The victim’s family stated that it took too long to apprehend the accused person and if not for their efforts, he could not be arrested. His co-accused (brother) is still at large, the accused is a flight risk and there is likelihood justice would not be served. They complained of threats and intimidation to witnesses,” the report shows.

 

Edited by R.Wamochie