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How widow got overwhelmed by sentencing of Willie Kimani murder convicts

The late Josephat Mwenda’s wife Rebecca Wanja collapsed outside the Milimani Law Courts shortly after the sentencing of the four convicts in the Willie Kimani killings of 2016.

Mr Mwenda who was murdered alongside his lawyer Mr Kimani and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri on June 23, 2016.

Dressed in an Ankara print dress with her hair in a bun and in purple spectacles, Mrs Mwenda appeared to have been overwhelmed by emotions after Justice Jesie Lessit sentenced the convicts.

“My name is Rebecca Wanja Mwenda I was the wife to the late Josephat Mwendwa,” she said before collapsing.

Also read: Ex-policeman Fredrick Leliman gets death penalty for Willie Kimani killings

In her ruling, Justice Lessit said the evidence produced during the trial had shown that the murders were premeditated and the victims brutally tortured and killed.

She sentenced former policeman Fredrick Ole Leliman to death over his involvement in the killings. Justice Lessit said Leliman was the mastermind of the “sophisticated murder”. She further said that the murder was most foul with the meticulous planning and execution.

Police officers Stephen Cheburet and Sylvia Wanjiku were also sentenced to 30 and 24 years in jail respectively while police informer Peter Ngugi was jailed for 20 years.

Also read: Lawyer Willie Kimani killers back to court this week

“No one should experience what these three went through, especially from the same people mandated to protect them. Sadly, since the deaths of our three friends, we have continued to witness more killings by police,” said Benson Shamala, the country director of International Justice Mission, where Kimani worked.

Mr Kimani was defending motorbike taxi driver Mwenda who had accused policeman Leliman of shooting him for no reason at a traffic stop in 2015. Kimani, Mwenda and their taxi driver Muiruri would then be last seen on June 23, 2016 at a police station.

Their mutilated bodies were recovered more than a week later having been dumped in River Athi and stashed in gunny bags in Ol Donyo Sabuk, Machakos County.

Kenya’s Independent Policing Oversight Authority has recorded more than 6,000 complaints, according to data the agency has gathered since its creation 11 years ago, but few officers have been prosecuted.

Also read: Willie Kimani’s killers to be sentenced next week