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January 21, 2019

Suspect in lecturer’s murder released on bond

A judge's mallet.
A judge's mallet.

A businessman charged with the murder of a college lecturer was yesterday released on a Sh500,000 bond.

But Nakuru High Court judge Joel Ngugi barred Godfrey Kipkemboi from visiting Rongai subcounty.

The court said the family of the lecturer had complained they are receiving threats from the accused’s family. Ngugi said it was most likely Kipkemboi could interfere with witnesses.

“The court has been made aware of threats to the family of the deceased from the accused’s family. However that’s not a sufficient ground to continue holding the suspect because the state has bonded witnesses,” Ngugi said.

The family said they are being threatened by the accused’s father whom they said is a senior military officer. Kipkemboi was charged with the murder of Irene Jepchumba on July 6 at Choka Falls in Molo River. Jepchumba was a lecturer at the Rift Valley Institute of Science and Technology in Nakuru.

The body of Jepchumba, 25, was recovered two weeks ago.

A postmortem conducted on July 11 showed she was strangled, contrary to earlier claims that she drowned after sliding down the falls.

The court ordered mobile service provider Safaricom to supply the defence with the communication data of Jepchumba’s father with the doctor who conducted the postmortem.

Defence lawyer David Mong’eri said Jepchumba’s family might have interfered with the postmortem results.

Investigating officer Joseph Gitau claimed the suspect was a flight risk but the judge rejected the claim. He ordered Kipkemboi to deposit his passport with the court.

Police want the court to allow them conduct a DNA test on the suspect. They said Kipkemboi was with Jepchumba when the tragedy happened.

Kipkemboi said Jepchumba slid and fell down the falls while taking a selfie. The suspect was arrested on July 12 at Kiamunyi area after the results of the postmortem were released. The case will be heard on August 8.

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