Sus­pect ‘shot self in Maribe bed­room’

Alibi? > Joseph Irungu claimed he was shot by crim­i­nals out­side his girl­friend’s house on the night a woman’s throat was slit Did Joseph Irungu, the prime sus­pect in the mur­der of a city woman, shoot him­self in­side his celebrity girl­friend’s house to lay

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - FRONT PAGE - BY BERNARD MWINZI bmwinzi@ke.na­tion­media.com

Mr Joseph Irungu, the prime sus­pect in the hor­ror killing of a woman in Nairobi two weeks ago, shot him­self in­side his fi­ancée Jacque Maribe's bed­room, in­ves­ti­ga­tors now be­lieve.

The bul­let punched a small hole in his chest, ex­ited through his back, and ric­o­cheted off Ms Maribe's bed­room wall. In­ves­ti­ga­tors on Sat­ur­day found a wheat flour patch over the hole in the wall while the weapon was found hid­den in the ceil­ing of a neigh­bour, who has since been ar­rested.

It is not clear whether Mr Irungu wanted to com­mit sui­cide or lay a false trail, but de­tec­tives sus­pect a strong link be­tween the mur­der of Ms Mon­ica Ki­mani in her Kil­i­mani apart­ment and the self-in­flicted gun­shot wound on Mr Irungu hours later on the other side of Nairobi, in Lang'ata.

Mr Irungu, his fi­ancée Ms Maribe, and their mu­tual friend Brian Kas­saine, in whose house the gun was found, are in po­lice cus­tody. Mr Irungu was ar­raigned in a Ki­ambu court last week while Ms Maribe — a cel­e­brated news an­chor and re­porter at Royal Me­dia Services' Cit­i­zen Tele­vi­sion — and Mr Kas­saine are ex­pected in court this morn­ing.

A gov­ern­ment source told the Na­tion yes­ter­day that de­tec­tives are re­view­ing Mr Irungu's move­ments around the city us­ing CCTV footage from ma­jor roads and his mo­bile phone sig­nals on the night Ms Ki­mani was killed. This, the source added, will be cross-ref­er­enced with his state­ment to the po­lice for any in­con­sis­ten­cies on his alibi.

At 7.05pm on Fri­day, Septem­ber 21, Mr Irungu, in the com­pany of Ms Maribe and Mr Kas­saine, walked to the re­port desk at Lang'ata Po­lice Sta­tion lo­cated about 200 me­tres from his res­i­dence, and told of­fi­cers that he had been at­tacked by gun­men as he drove out of Ms Maribe's res­i­dence at 1:30am the pre­vi­ous night, about 19 hours ear­lier. The at­tack­ers, he claimed, had es­caped on foot.

He said he alerted Mr Kas­saine after he was shot, who rushed him to hos­pi­tal. Guards at the es­tate have said they did not hear any gun­shot or com­mo­tion on the night Mr Irungu says he was at­tacked.

Po­lice of­fi­cers, too, did not be­lieve his state­ment as it had many cir­cum­stan­tial gaps. “When he was asked to pro­duce the clothes he wore dur­ing the shoot­ing, he did not,” an of­fi­cer in the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team told the Na­tion yes­ter­day. “The car he was driv­ing, a Toy­ota Al­lion, reg­is­tra­tion KCA 031E, had no bul­let hole, and there were just too many con­tra­dic­tions in his story.”

Ear­lier, po­lice of­fi­cers had found a live bul­let un­der Ms Maribe's bed, and the plot thick­ened when, in his state­ment, Mr Irungu said the bul­let may have been from his friend Kas­saine's gun, which, he added, he used to ser­vice from time to time.

Po­lice searched Mr Kas­saine's house and found a gun, live bul­lets in a mag­a­zine, and a spent car­tridge be­lieved to be from the day Mr Irungu shot him­self, hid­den in the ceil­ing. None of the three, po­lice es­tab­lished, is li­censed to carry a civil­ian firearm.

“The con­tra­dic­tions in their state­ments and the fact that Ms Maribe may have cleaned the house and burnt the clothes make us be­lieve she is an ac­ces­sory to mur­der,” a po­lice source said.

Po­lice said if she lied to the au­thor­i­ties in or­der to cover up wrong­do­ing, then she is at risk of se­ri­ous crim­i­nal charges.

The drama sur­round­ing Mr Irungu and his fi­ancée started on Wednes­day, Septem­ber 19 this year, when the man who passes him­self off as a se­cu­rity guard knocked on Ms Ki­mani's Kil­i­mani apart­ment door.

Ms Mon­ica, whom Mr Irungu is said to have dated ear­lier, had just flown in from Juba, South Sudan and was in the com­pany of two men when Mr Irungu walked in.

De­tec­tives be­lieve two men left the apart­ment at around 11pm, giv­ing Mr Irungu and Ms Mon­ica, whom they said looked quite fa­mil­iar and com­fort­able with each other, time and space to catch up. A few hours later, Ms Ki­mani lay in her bath­tub, dead.

Po­lice sources said Ms Ki­mani seemed to have been killed by a pro­fes­sional as­sas­sin. Her hands were tied at the back and her mouth taped shut. Her feet, too, were tied to­gether, mean­ing she could not es­cape, de­fend her­self, or shout for help. The as­sas­sin then ex­pertly slit her throat from ear to ear and dumped her body in her bath­tub. The fol­low­ing day, on Thurs­day, as news about Ms Ki­mani's hor­ror killing spread, in­ves­ti­ga­tors started clos­ing in on the sus­pects.

After Mr Irungu shot him­self, de­tec­tives be­lieve, he and Ms Maribe then called Mr Kas­saine, who lives next door — Ms Maribe lives in House num­ber 626 of Royal Park Es­tate, Lang'ata, while Mr Kas­saine's is num­ber 620 — and gave him the gun. Mr Kas­saine then hid the pis­tol, bul­lets and the spent car­tridge in his ceil­ing. Po­lice said the gun is not reg­is­tered, and that nei­ther Mr Kas­saine nor Mr Irungu, who has been pro­vid­ing body­guard services to se­nior politi­cians, is a li­censed gun holder.

Po­lice are still comb­ing sev­eral res­i­den­tial houses in the city where the key sus­pect has lived, among them a house in Buru Buru Phase 2's Laset Court, where he lived with three other men.

The three, po­lice say, have not been seen in the neigh­bour­hood since Mr Irungu's ar­rest.

JEFF ANGOTE | NA­TION

Mr Joseph Irungu when he ap­peared be­fore Ki­ambu Se­nior Prin­ci­pal Mag­is­trate Stella Atambo last week in con­nec­tion with the mur­der of Ms Mon­ica Ki­mani. He did not take a plea as po­lice re­quested, and got, a 10-day cus­to­dial or­der. In­set is his girl­friend, tele­vi­sion jour­nal­ist Jacque Maribe, who was ar­rested on Sat­ur­day on sus­pi­cion of try­ing to cover up for him. She, along­side her neigh­bour, will be ar­raigned to­day.

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