Bar Cohen murder suspect from seeing children — wife

Says children traumatised, stigmatised, Children's officer says they're fine, want to see dad

In Summary

• Karanja's estranged wife wants him barred from seeing their two children, says they're traumatised and stigmatised.

• Karanja IS a suspect in the murder of Dutch businessman Tob Cohen and is in remand.


Peter Karanja, a suspect in the Tob Chen murder, and his wife, Gilgil MP Martha Wangari in happier times when she shows IEBC clearance certificate.
CHILDREN TRAUMATISED? Peter Karanja, a suspect in the Tob Chen murder, and his wife, Gilgil MP Martha Wangari in happier times when she shows IEBC clearance certificate.

When a man is accused of a sensational murder and his name is all over the papers, do his children suffer?

Yes, indeed, says Gilgil MP Martha Wangari. She wants her estranged husband, Peter Karanja, barred from seeing her two 'traumatised', 'ridiculed' and 'stigmatised' children. She says they're anguished and in danger.

However, Children's Officer D.O. Osoro said in a report to the court that the children are fine, they miss their father and want to see him.

Wangari rubbished the report as biased.

Karanja is in police cells awaiting trial. So is Cohen's widow Sarah, who is also in remand.

Karanja is to take a plea on Friday.

On Wednesday, Wangari asked a Naivasha court to bar Karanja from seeing his children, even on jail visits, because he's a murder suspect.

She says Karanja is causing the minors mental anguish and depression.

Karanja, a businessman, was a taxi driver for years until he connected with Wangari.

The MP  is also asking the court to order Karanja to pay Sh270,000 monthly for school fees, children's maintenance and basic needs.

The couple was already embroiled in divorce proceedings in a Naivasha court before Karanja was arrested last month in connection with the Dutch businessman's gruesome murder.

Under a certificate of urgency, the MP represented by lawyer George Kimani also wants the court to grant her access to their Gilgil home. Karanja had locked her out.

Before Naivasha chief magistrate Joseph Karanja [no relation to Peter], the MP called for the suspect to be restrained from contacting the two minors until the trial is concluded.

“This is meant to avoid prejudice, mental anguish, ridicule and accompanying dangers and stigma against the minors, arising from the criminal allegations facing Karanja,” she said in her petition.

“The respondent (Karanja) as per media report is confirmed to be a man with many relationships with women and is a man of bad social standing,” the petition reads.

The lawyer told the court that Karanja applied two months ago to have access to the children, but said his "true character" should first be exposed.

“Last month Karanja was arrested on allegations of heinous murder and it’s important that his true character be exposed before he is allowed to access and interact with the minors,” he said.

The lawyer told the court that the minors were already stigmatised and stressed by the media reports on  Cohen's murder.

The MP  also questioned the authenticity of a report tabled bye Gilgil sub-county children officer Osoro on the minors' condition and the state of their home in Gilgil.

“The report by the by the children's officer is skewed, suspicious and is biased to favour the respondent [Karanja] and should be struck out due to its inconsistency,” her petition reads.

However, lawyer F.I. Mburu who is representing Karanja called for more time to reply to the petition.

An accused person has a right to a fair trial and is presumed innocent until proven guilty, he said.

The petition will be determined on November 6 when the defence will have filed its reply.

(Edited by V.Graham)