Nancy Gitonga and Seth Onyango @PeopleDailyKe
In a cruel twist of fate, television journalist Jacque Maribe’s determined efforts to save fiancé Joseph ‘Jowie’ Irungu, the prime suspect in the brutal killing of Monica Kimani would appear to have landed her in the thick of murder most foul!
As Maribe cut a forlorn figure as she stoically stood beside Jowie in the dock to answer to charges of murder yesterday, the echoes of the lyrics of Tina Turner’s ‘What’s love got to do with it’, may have flashed through the minds of friends, foe, kin and colleagues —and even the public gripped by the unfolding events of the tragedy.
According to police sources, Maribe may have in the “wisdom of love” for Jowie interfered with critical evidence.
The two, despite standing next to each other, seemed like strangers, each lost in their own world and just gazed into emptiness in a fully packed courtroom. Save for some flashes of pained smiles to their respective parents, there was little to suggest affection between them.
Police believe Maribe, despite having reason to believe Jowie had something to do with the crime, helped him destroy evidence.
She is also accused of withholding information about Jowie’s attempted suicide at her home as well as hiding the kanzu Irungu is said to have worn the night he allegedly killed Monica.
The revelations emerged as another suspect now turned witness Brian Kassaine their neighbour provided information touching on destroyed vital evidence including how Maribe and Jowie approached him for assistance hours after the murder of Monica inside the latter’s house at Lamuria Gardens off Dennis Pritt Road, Nairobi.
Kassaine was arrested on September 28 after it was established that Irungu had used a gun issued to him in attempted suicide in Maribe’s house at the Royal Park estate in Lang’ata hours after the body of Monica was discovered.
Upon interrogation, Kassaine and his wife Cathrene Piyon have convinced the prosecution they can be State witnesses.
In his statement, Kassaine told police that on September 20, Irungu approached him in his house seeking paraffin to help burn some items.
According to police, Maribe knew Irungu had gone to Kassaine’s house to get paraffin. However, after failing to get the paraffin they used cans of air freshener to burn clothes within their compound.
And on September 21, at about 1am, Irungu rushed to Kassaine’s house and asked him to go and secure the gun from his bedroom.
Kassaine subsequently secured the pistol with 28 bullets and one spent cartridge. He added that Irungu told him he had argued with Maribe prompting the attempted suicide.
Kassaine, his wife and Maribe took Irungu to three different hospitals. On September 21 at about 7pm they recorded a statement at Lang’ata police station claiming three gunmen riding on a motorbike had shot Irungu. Further compounding Maribe’s predicament was her car, which Jowie had driven to Kimani’s home.
Yesterday, the High Court ordered Maribe and Irungu to be detained until Monday next week when they will take pleas for Monica’s murder.
Justice Jessie Lessit ruled that the suspects be remanded to allow Maribe to undergo metal assessment before she pleads to murder charge.
The duo was taken to the court after DPP Noordin Haji “independently reviewed the evidence so far on record and was satisfied that there exists a prima facie case to warrant a criminal prosecution…”
According to the penal code, if two or more people are directly responsible for the actus reus, they can be charged as joint principals.
The test to distinguish a joint principal from an accessory is whether the defendant independently contributed to causing the actus reus rather than merely giving generalised and/or limited help and encouragement.
Maribe’s lawyer, Katwa Kigen, strongly opposed prosecutor Catherine Mwaniki’s call for more time and taking his client for the mental test.
Kigen said Maribe is fit to take plea and be subjected to the assessment later. But the judge overruled him, restating that it is the first procedure in murder case. At the same time, Jowie’s lawyers led by Cliff Ombeta, Sam Nyaberi and Laichena Mugambi, opposed the plea, being deferred saying his client needed urgent medical attention.
“His hand is now paralysed, has gone numb and pus is oozing from it,” Ombeta said.
Justice Lessit directed that Jowie be taken to Kenyatta National Hospital by prison authorities for treatment. The court, meanwhile, heard that Jowie had undergone mental assessment test and found to be fit to stand trial.
Mwaniki said the prosecution intends to oppose bail as the judge directed that an affidavit opposing bail be filed in court before October 15.
Maribe was arrested after detectives profiled DNA samples from the deceased apartment, Jowie and her house in Langata.