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German found sleeping with dead wife cleared of murder

08 November 2013, 18:08

Mombasa - A court in the coastal city of Mombasa has acquitted a German man who was arrested while sleeping with the decomposing body of his Kenyan wife and charged with her murder, court officials said Friday.

The court ruled on Thursday that there was insufficient evidence to convict the man, identified in court documents as Michael Bibcke Robel, 43, from the city of Hamburg, of murdering Esther Elsi Igoki Munyi in December 2009.

The court heard how the accused was found sleeping next to his dead, decomposing wife at their home near Mombasa after police were alerted by the smell. The accused had also stabbed himself in the chest in an apparent failed suicide attempt.

"It is pertinent that under cross-examination by the defence counsel, the doctor did concede that no obvious injuries were seen on the neck. There was no strangulation," Judge Maureen Odero said in her ruling.

She also ruled that there were no eyewitnesses to the events, and that an autopsy failed to establish the precise cause of death beyond that of asphyxia - partly because the body was decomposing when it was discovered.

Judge Odero said the fact the man had remained with his wife's decomposing body for several days was further evidence of his mental instability, supporting a finding by doctors that he was suffering from mental illness.

"A person of unsound mind is incapable of possessing malice aforethought required to prove murder," the judge said.

Court officials said the man was handed over to a German embassy representative after the trial. The German embassy in Nairobi could not immediately be reached for comment.



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