How car plates led police to prison warder who ran over KU student
Were it not for the car number plate that was found next to her body, police officers may have shrugged off Maureen Wambui Gachagua’s death as one of the many mysterious murders or accidents in the city.
But it turned out the Kenyatta University third-year student was hit by a senior prison officer — who police say was drunk — who then drove three kilometres with her body on the roof of his car before dumping it in South C Estate, Nairobi.
Maureen, 22, had attended an overnight party with her boyfriend, Dennis Mburu Baragu, at the NextGen Mall on Mombasa Road.
“We exited the mall at around 4am Sunday. I managed to cross a trench outside the mall to join Mombasa Road but my girlfriend decided to use the main path to join the road.
‘ROAD WAS CLEAR’
“I waited for her so that we could cross the road together but just after she stepped on the tarmac, I saw her cross and I decided to follow her because the road was clear.
“Before she made it to the other side and before I could make any step myself, I saw a red car at very high speed hit her,” Dennis said.
He said he saw her body fly and land on the roof of the car and so he ran after it hoping that Maureen would drop and he would then take her to hospital.
“When the car disappeared from my sight, I looked for her by the road and even in the ditches on either side of the road but all I found were her shoes,” he said.
When he did not find her, he returned on foot to the NextGen Mall, where he requested a taxi driver to help him search for her.
He gave up the pursuit when, after almost an hour, they had not found her. He decided to search for her in hospitals.
“We went to Nairobi West, Nairobi South, Lang’ata, Mater and Kenyatta National Hospital but none of the hospitals had admitted a patient involved in any accident.
“A friend I had called and informed me that there was a nearby hospital called Mariakani.
“I went to that hospital and while I was at the reception, I overheard a woman narrating of how the body of a woman had been dumped around that area by an unknown person,” Dennis said.
The scene was at a turn near Car Max dealers in South C. Dennis found his girlfriend’s body dumped with her face facing down.
“The body was in bad shape,” Dennis said, “her right leg was missing and the whole body was badly injured. Beside the body was a number plate of a car; KCN 285B,” he said.
Police officers were already at the scene when Dennis arrived at 6.30am.
As a crowd gathered, someone picked the number plate and disappeared with it.
A boda boda rider, who was at the scene at the time police arrived, said he saw a man arrive and ask the police to go assist him as he had had an accident and he needed urgent attention.
“The police asked him to wait but he kept disrupting them. Then as he was speaking to the police, he asked a boda boda rider he had come with to pick the number plate and then they left,” the rider, Peter Koigi, said.
After the body had been taken to City Mortuary by police, Dennis and Maureen’s brother, Nahashon Wahome, went to the accident scene on Mombasa Road where they found the detached foot.
An officer investigating the accident said Sergeant Dismus Gitenge Motongwa, after dumping the body, drove to Lang’ata Women Prison’s staff quarters, parked the car, unscrewed the hind number plate and took a different car.
“He then drove to the Lang’ata Police Station and reported that he had hit a cow along Mombasa Road. The officer’s took his statement and asked him to go with them to the accident scene.
“While there, the officers told him that the area was under Industrial Area Police Station’s jurisdiction and directed him to report there,” the officer said.
Meanwhile, a signal was circulated by the officers who had already noted down the number plate found next to Maureen’s body and it matched that recorded at the Lang’ata Police Station.
When the Sergeant reported the matter at the Industrial Area Police Station, the officers insisted that he goes for the car that had been involved in the accident,” the officer said.
Maureen’s brother said the family hopes that justice will be served.
“We are wondering why his charge sheet does not contain the charge of concealing crime evidence. We want a thorough investigation to be conducted and justice be served,” he said.
Nairobi Deputy Police Commander Richard Kerich said the sergeant will be charged with causing death by dangerous driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.