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Police arrest 'dead' fugitive

30 January 2014, 16:20 Joseph Njung'eh

Nyeri - A middle-aged woman who faked her cousin’s death to assist him jump bail has been jailed for 15 years by a Nyeri court.

Mary Wangechi was convicted for forging death certificate and burial permit of Paul Gitahi who was facing charges of robbery with violence.

Wangechi later produced the documents in court to affirm that the suspect was dead.

Gitahi was charged alongside two other suspects who were out on bail when Wangechi who had also stood surety for him faked his death.

The court heard that Gitahi vanished after the court released him on bond terms forcing the trial magistrate to issue a warrant of arrest against him.

But in an interesting rejoinder, Wangechi resurfaced in the court later holding his death certificate.

She told the court that the suspect had been ill, and had died while undergoing treatment at the Nyeri Provincial General Hospital.

To certify the suspect’s death, Wangechi produced the death certificate and burial permit purportedly signed by the hospital’s medical superintendent.

However, police investigations established that the documents were not genuine as the suspect was still alive and at large.

The purported ‘deceased’ Gitahi was arrested and taken to court after which he was remanded as his robbery case continues.

Wangechi, on the other hand, was charged with five separate counts relating to forgery and fraud, all of which she denied.

The prosecution adduced eight witnesses in the case which the court patched together to convict Wangechi.

In her defence, Wangechi told the court that she had been duped by the suspect’s brother to commit the offence who later disappeared after her arrest.

She however begged for leniency informing the court that she was highly remorseful and that being a widow, her children would be left destitute if she was imprisoned.

Nyeri chief magistrate, Wilbroda Juma however convicted her stating that she had committed a serious offence necessitating a deterrent sentence.

“The court provides for bail even in very serious offences. But such rights should not be abused to the extent of police being burdened with the task of looking for runaway suspects,” the magistrate stated while delivering her ruling.

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