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Jealous man who stalked then burnt to death his wife of 24 years

Bomet residents who know the 50-year-old carpenter charged with burning his wife to death two weeks ago describe him as jealous.

In Kobel village, where Mr Robert Kipkorir Tonui lives and runs a workshop, he is known to be a loner.

Villagers say he constantly quarrelled his wife of 24 years, Emmy Chepkoech Mitey, 45 – the former headteacher of Cheptalal Primary School.

Tonui did not proceed with studies after sitting his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination at Kericho Boys High School.

“He frowns at people visiting his home and hardly strikes a conversation with them. He used to stalk his wife and beat her up whenever she spoke to another man,” a woman, who did not wish to be named, told the Nation.

“The fact that he sneaked into his in-laws’ home and attacked his wife speaks volumes of a man who took time to plan and execute the act.”

Mr Tonui is said to have doused Mitey with petrol, before setting her ablaze at her parent’s home in Seanin village, six kilometres away, on the night of October 3.

Neighbours say the couple quarrelled three weeks earlier, and Mitey left for her parents’ home, where a bid to reconcile them failed.

The woman suffered 97 per cent burns and died on October 7. The body is at Tenwek Hospital mortuary.

“He often assaulted his wife. She was recently admitted to Litein AIC Hospital after being beaten. The woman left with her children and went to live with her elderly parents,” another neighbour said.

The couple has five children whose education was being shouldered by Mitey.

Workshop shut

The workshop, which Tonui opened about five years ago at a rented building, has remained shut for a week.

Sotik Principal Magistrate Evans Muleka yesterday allowed an application by State counsel Mercy Nyaroito for Tonui to be held in custody for 12 days as investigations proceed.

He will undergo a mental test before taking plea.

Mitey’s colleagues, who were in court, said they repeatedly urged her to leave the toxic marriage.

“We told her to end the relationship. She has now paid with her life,” a teacher at Sotik law courts said when Tonui appeared for the mention of the case.

“We pray that her children and parents get justice and that God will see them through school and college.”

No relatives or friends of Tonui were in court.

No lawyer

The carpenter did not have legal representation.

Mr Muleka directed that the carpenter be taken to court on October 26. Tonui did not oppose the State’s application.

With a balding head, unkempt hair, a brown raincoat, a matching shirt, blue pair of trousers, black shoes and a distraught look, the carpenter on several occasions attempted to shield his face from the cameras when he was led into the dock by police officers.

When the magistrate informed him that police had requested to hold him for more days, he mumbled a barely audible “yes”.

After the next court date was logged, Tonui was taken back to the holding cells behind the courtroom.

Several people, including Mitey’s colleagues, followed and peeped through the iron window grills.

He was held in the cell for an hour before being led to a waiting police vehicle and driven back to Mogogosiek, some 28 kilometres away.

Earlier, journalists and curious residents had camped at Bomet law courts, awaiting Tonui’s appearance, but they had to travel to Sotik, when it emerged around 10am that he would not be taking plea, since police and the prosecution would be applying for more time to hold him in custody.

Shocking cases of murder have lately hit Bomet County, most related to domestic violence. Others are as a result of drug and alcohol abuse.