A look back at the murder case of Kenyan woman last seen at hotel with British soldiers

Mildred Europa Taylor November 05, 2021
Agnes Wanjiru was killed at the age of 21. Photo: BBC

The body of Agnes Wanjiru was found in a septic tank at a hotel in central Kenya in June 2012, about three months after she disappeared. The 21-year-old single mom was last seen by witnesses on the night of March 31, 2012, walking out of a hotel bar in the garrison town of Nanyuki, Kenya with two British soldiers. Wanjiru had dropped out of high school and had become a hairdresser before turning to sex work to look after her baby.

Witnesses said she had joined the British soldiers at the Lion’s Court hotel’s bar, with the hope of getting a client who would pay her for sex so she could feed her baby. And after spending an evening partying with soldiers, her body was found by a hotel worker nearly three months later in a septic tank that was behind a room where the soldiers had stayed. She was found naked but for her bra, with missing body parts and a stabbing injury, according to BBC.

Wanjiru left behind a five-month-old daughter, who is now being taken care of by her sister Rose Wanyua in Nanyuki. No suspect has been arrested or charged with the murder. In 2019, a Kenyan judge concluded after an inquest that Wanjiru had been murdered by one or two British soldiers.

The judge, Njeri Thuku, ordered two further criminal inquiries, but no action was taken by the military, according to Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper which said last month that it had been reporting the murder for weeks. Following the report by the Sunday Times last month, Kenya said it will reopen the investigation into the death of Wanjiru.

The Sunday Times reported that a soldier it spoke with said the killer had confessed to him and he had reported it to the army. The army however did not investigate it. Soldiers reportedly joked about the incident on Facebook. Kenyan detectives also reportedly asked British military police to question some of the soldiers. However, the UK’s defense ministry said it never received such a request, BBC reported.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said last month that the Ministry of Defence had collaborated with Kenya in its investigation, and would not stop doing so.

In Nanyuki, where the British army has a training base, locals have made complaints about the behavior of British soldiers for years but those complaints are ignored. Most of the locals lack the resources to pursue justice. Wanyua, who is taking care of Wanjiru’s daughter, said her family had lost hope that justice will be served as they cannot even afford lawyers. She told BBC that the Sunday Times report about Wanjiru, who she calls Ciru, had brought back painful memories.

“If it was Ciru who had killed that white person, by now I wouldn’t even know where she is jailed,” Wanyua said. “But whoever killed her went free and is living his life. I am raising her child alone, no one has asked about their well-being, not even the government.”

Last month, Hillary Mutyambai, the inspector general of Kenya’s police, said he has directed the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to re-open the case and ensure the case is concluded before a court of law.

“I am also urging the UK government to collaborate with us to conclude the case and administer justice,” he wrote on Twitter.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 5, 2021


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