Agnes Tirop’s murder suspect to remain custody
A man accused of killing international athlete Agnes Tirop will stay longer behind bars after the High Court in Eldoret adjourned the ruling on his bond application for the fourth time on Wednesday.
Ibrahim Rotich, 41, who’s accused of killing his wife Tirop did not appear in the dock on Wednesday, with prison authorities indicating he is under isolation due to his health after he suffered from severe smallpox.
“Due to his health after he suffered from smallpox, we have isolated him and he cannot be allowed to mingle with other inmates,” a prison warder in charge of court issues told journalists at the High Court premises after adjournment of the bond ruling.
A senior court clerk at the court confirmed the case has been adjourned due to absence of a presiding judge currently on leave until May.
The clerk who spoke on condition of anonymity extended the mention of the case to next Thursday for further directions from the Deputy Registrar who was also away from the office on official duties.
“Since the matter was coming up for bond ruling today and the judge is away on leave, I have been forced to extend the mention of the case to April 28,” said the court clerk.
Mr Rotich took plea on murder on November 16, 2021 and denied the murder charge before Justice Reuben Nyakundi.
The charge sheet had stated that Mr Rotich killed Tirop on October 12,2021 at Rural estate in Iten, Elgeyo Marakwet county.
The accused who went missing after the incident was arrested in Mombasa a day after the grisly killing.
Police suspected that he was trying to flee the country after the incident.
The court was expected to start hearing the case earlier this year, but due to what was described as legal technicalities, the proceedings did not start.
Already state counsels have objected to the release of Mr Rotich on bond, claiming there was overwhelming evidence connecting him to the murder. They argue he would interfere with witnesses if he is freed.
The bond hearing was first adjourned on December 15, when prosecutors objected to the release of the suspect.
The matter was again adjourned on March 9. The court then said a ruling on bond would be made on April 1 and now has been adjourned to May 4.
The judge had directed in December that probation officers prepare a pre-bail report to help in determining whether Mr Rotich should be released on bond.
Prosecutors also told the court that Mr Rotich had threatened to take his own life before he was arrested and they feared he would do it if released.
At the same time due to a dispute over the property of the deceased, the court issued an interim order to the family of the late Tirop to take custody of her property until the matter is determined. The athlete’s father Vincent Tirop was appointed as temporary administrator of the property.
Tirop featured last in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, taking part in the 5,000m and finishing fourth.
The women-only 10km record holder and former world cross country champion was found dead in her Iten home on October 13.