NO BODY FOUND

Wife of missing Dutch to be charged with murder

This is among the few cases where someone is charged with murder without recovering the body

In Summary

• Accused's lawyer says police were rushed to charge her to save bilateral relations of Kenya and the Netherlands. 

• Murgor maintains there is no evidence linking his client to the alleged murder because there are no witness statements. 

Dutch millionaire Tob Cohen and his lawyer Dunstan Omari
MURDER CHARGE WITHOUT BODY: Dutch millionaire Tob Cohen and his lawyer Dunstan Omari
Image: COURTESY

The mystery surrounding the alleged death of Dutch tycoon Tob Cohen deepened on Thursday after the state registered a murder charge against his wife Sarah Wairimu.

This is among the few cases where someone is charged with murder without recovering the body.

Wairimu was arraigned before a Nairobi court but she did not take a plea until she undergoes a mental examination.

 

Assistant DPP Catherine Mwaniki asked the court to remand Wairimu before she takes a plea.

However, her lawyer Philip Murgor opposed the application arguing that there was no body. 

Murgor maintained there was no evidence linking his client to the alleged murder because there are no witness statements.

He accused the state of bias and being used by external forces, adding that the only reason Wairimu was in court was because of Cohen's family from the Netherlands.

He said the prosecution had earlier told the court that the case was affecting bilateral relations between the two states, saying it had made police rush to charge her without evidence.

But Mwaniki insisted that according to the law they can charge without the body ever being found and it will be their job to prove the offence to the court. 

She told Murgor to wait until they complete presenting evidence so he can argue then that there were no remains.

 

A fiery Murgor at one point accused one of the investigating officers known only as Mwangi of sexually harassing Wairimu.

He claimed that the officer had been making her feel terrorised and at one point asked her to leave her lawyers so he could help her and make the case go away.

But Mwaniki shut down the claims saying she had never seen a lawyer stoop that low.

Murgor asked the court to release Wairimu on bail, arguing that she has spent close to 16 days in police custody without charge.

The lawyer also said DCI George Kinoti personally led a team of investigators in the home Wairimu shared with Cohen and took her through the house. 

According to Murgor, they were supposed to dig a compost pit but had not done so by Thursday. 

Mwaniki opposed the application arguing a mental exam is standard procedure and "she should not be treated differently". 

The prosecution is still waiting for forensic results from the Government Chemist, Mwaniki said. Some witnesses will be protected. 

In his ruling, Justice Charles Kariuki said he was only standing in for the judge who was away and all applications should be made next Monday before the resident judge.

Meanwhile, Wairimu will be remanded at Lang'ata Women's Prison where she will undergo a mental exam in the presence of her family and lawyers if she wishes.

The animosity between Cohen’s and Wairimu’s family members played out in court when the judge left and at one time her family was asking why the foreigners had milled around the prosecution.

Wairimu’s family and friends wanted to know why everyone except Cohen's family was being asked to vacate the corridors by the prosecutors. 

Speaking to the media, Cohen's sister Gabrielle Van Straten said they were only out to find out what happened to him.

An emotionally distraught Straten who struggled to compose herself thanked the police for working hard, saying she was happy with the status of the case.

“In the meantime, we hope the period that we will be in the country that we will find all the answers that we need,” she said.

Straten said her family still has many doubts about Wairimu and they want to know her role in the alleged disappearance of Cohen. 

 “Cohen loved this country, he was fond of it, and he promoted and invested largely in the golf and safari industry,” Straten said.

The case will be mentioned next  Monday. 

Edited by R.Wamochie