- Detectives used a supermarket voucher found at scene of crime in Laikipia to trace Hussein to Eastleigh
- He had been dismissed from KWS in 2009 and committed the offence in 2011 with others not in court
He was trained and employed to protect wildlife, but he turned into a mortal enemy of Kenya's precious heritage.
Former Kenya Wildlife Service ranger Mohammed Hussein was on Friday found guilty of killing a rhino and harvesting its horns. Hussein also killed a buffalo at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Laikipia county.
Nanyuki principal magistrate Njeri Thuku jailed the poacher to 12 years in prison.
Hussein had denied charges that on the night of June 29 and 30 2011, while with others not before the court, he killed a rhino and stole its horns valued at Sh5 million.
He had also pleaded not guilty to two other separate charges of hunting and killing game animals in the conservancy.
During the trial that lasted over two years, the prosecution lined up 10 witnesses who linked the accused to the crime.
Hussein had been dismissed from KWS in July 2009 after he deserted his work station at Tsavo East National Park.
Ibrahim Mugambi, an employee of Ol Pejeta, told the court that while on regular patrol in the vast conservancy with a colleague, he heard gunshots at 3am but did not manage to trace the exact location until 5am.
When they reached the scene, they found a dead buffalo and a rhino. Both animals had gunshot wounds and the rhino had its two horns severed off.
Mugambi narrated to the court they found an axe at the scene, several spent cartridges, miraa twigs, a plastic soda bottle, groundnut wrappers and a supermarket cash voucher next to the dead animals that lay two meters apart.
Another witness, Kiragu Njiri who worked as a manager at Nakumatt supermarket, told the court that they were able to ascertain the cash voucher found at the scene of crime was indeed issued to a customer who had purchased a soda, groundnuts, chocolate and bottled water at their Meru branch.
Detectives used the cash voucher to trace the person it had been issued to in a bid to nab the culprit. Their efforts yielded fruit when they were able to trace him to his hideout in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
Detective Eugralius Inapo told the court of how he was led by an informer to the house the accused was hiding in on Eastleigh Sixth Street and arrested him.
Reading her judgment, magistrate Thuku said the court was alive to the fact that poaching was a serious crime that is taking a global trend and was threatening Kenya’s wildlife that was a big tourist attraction and therefore the crime warranted a stiff penalty.
She handed him two years in jail for the first count, seven years for the second count and three years for the third and ordered that the sentences run consecutively.
Hussein remained mum throughout the sentencing and when asked to mitigate, he shook his head saying that he had nothing to say.