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City house help jailed over death of employer’s child

A house help accused of killing a child suffering from cerebral palsy has been sentenced to three years in jail.

High Court judge Stella Mutuku issued the sentence to Jackline Milka Murunga after finding her guilty of manslaughter for the death that occurred on May 27, 2013 at Capital Hill estate in Ruai, Nairobi.

The judge ordered that after completion of her three years jail term she should be supervised by the probation office for two years.

“I note that the accused has admitted this offence and has explained how it happened. It is unfortunate that she took such a drastic action on a helpless little child who had medical challenges of his own,” said Justice Mutuku.

The accused was working at the home of Miriam Njeri Ndung’u as a care giver to two children including the deceased.


On the fateful day, at around 11.00 a.m, Miriam’s mother found the accused outside the homestead at a construction site of a pit latrine.

She quarreled the accused for leaving the deceased alone in the house and they both went to check on him together. They found the deceased seated on a sofa but was crying.

Miriam’s mother had contacted her on phone and asked her to pass by her place after work which she did.

When Miriam got to her house at around 7.30 pm, she found her elder child playing outside which was unusual.

The deceased was in the house laying on the bed as if sleeping but had died and the house help could not be reached on her phone.

She contacted her parents and reported the matter to a police station. When the accused was arrested the next day, she denied killing the minor.

The accused claimed that she had left the house of her employer to seek help in connection with her phone from a man who was at the construction site nearby.


She faulted Miriam’s mother of insulting her, spitting at her and throwing her belongings out of the house.

According to the lawyer representing the accused, she had taken care of the deceased for a long time and that despite the deceased’s physical and medical challenges, she had no reason to kill him.

Court was also told that since she was chased away by Miriam’s mother she was not the last person in the house hence would not have been the alleged murderer.

Prosecution presented a knife as evidence but the pathologist report showed the deceased died due to head injuries from a blunt force.

But the judge ruled that since there was no malice aforethought, she sentenced her with the offense of manslaughter and not murder.

“Given what had happened that morning and given that the accused had lived and taken care of the deceased for about nine months, although not without some negligence of leaving the deceased unattended, it is my view that her actions of that day were not pre-meditated,” ruled Justice Mutuku.