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July 18, 2018

Slain Willie Kimani ‘wrote tissue note’

Four officers from the Syokimau AP camp during a hearing at the Milimani law courts on February 16. They are charged with killing lawyer Willie Kimani and two others /COLLINS KWEYU
Four officers from the Syokimau AP camp during a hearing at the Milimani law courts on February 16. They are charged with killing lawyer Willie Kimani and two others /COLLINS KWEYU

A handwriting expert testified yesterday in the high-profile murder trial of five people charged with the cold-blooded murders of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client and a taxi driver.

Forensic documenting examiner John Muinde told the court how several unique features in a tissue-paper note believed to have been written by Kimani were consistent with writing in Kimani’s diary.

The critical three-ply tissue paper note is believed to be the last note Kimani wrote before he, his client Josephat Mwendwa and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were brutally murdered on the night of June 23 last year.

Earlier on that date, Kimani had allegedly thrown a tissue paper to a boda boda rider pleading for help.

On February 16, the tissue-paper note was at the centre of cross-examination of a witness.

International Justice Mission officer Rose Gakii said her office made unsuccessful attempts to trace the three after she received a distress call from Mwenda’s wife, only identified as Rebecca, on June 23 last year.

Gakii told judge Jessie Lesiit that Rebecca informed her a strange man had called claiming that Kimani, Josephat Mwenda and Joseph Muiruri had been arrested. The man said he had a note that was thrown to him, she said.

“Please call this number [xxxxxxxx] and let Rose know that Willy and Mwenda have been arrested and held at Syokimau. We are in danger,” the note, written in Kiswahili, states.

Muinde who is attached to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations said he was given the tissue note and samples of known handwriting of the three men to examine and ascertain if any of them penned the note.

“After comparing the handwriting of the three people and the tissue note, my opinion is that the handwriting in the disputed note was Kimani’s,” he said.

Muinde said he used scientific methods to compare the handwriting.

Some similarities pointed out are the overall size and spacing of the letters, the unique and peculiar shaping of the letters and the baseline alignment.

AP officers Fredrick Leliman, Leonard Maina, Stephen Chebulet, Silvia Wanjiku and informer Peter Ngugi have been charged with the murders.

Defence lawyer Cliff Ombeta challenged the admissibility of the opinion after Muinde said he did not have evidence in court to explain how he made the conclusion.

“Do you have any evidence to show us the similarities you’re talking about? Did you indicate in your reports which letters you compared to conclude it was Kimani’s handwriting?” Muinde was asked.

“I didn’t indicate in the report. All I can say is that the note was written by Kimani, a skilled speed writer,” he answered.

The hearing continues.

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