Death sentence for Kenyan woman

NAIROBI. — A Kenyan woman who strangled her two-year-old daughter to death after an overnight prayer session at a local church has been sentenced to hang by a Kakamega court.

Kakamega High Court Judge Ruth Sitati found Jackline Liyema Mukoto guilty of murdering her daughter Dorine Nanjala Mukoto on July 1, 2013 at Namukhokhome Village, Bunyala East Location in Kakamega County.

“From the circumstances, the only person who could know what happened to the deceased is the accused person. Her defence is that of denial. Her explanation that she regained her consciousness while in police cells was not substantiated. None of the witnesses who testified said the accused lost consciousness at any one time or was beaten by anybody,” said the judge.

The mother, however, told the court that when the crime was committed she saw herself in “heaven”. Mukoto, added that she heard a voice telling her that she was in heaven.

Her other child, who was a key prosecution witness, testified that when the mother came home that morning, she neither greeted them nor cooked food for them.

The child said her mother grabbed Nanjala and threw her down, before sitting on her and twisting her neck.

On seeing what her mother had done, the child rushed to her grandmother’s house and alerted her.

The grandmother notified the police and the accused was arrested.

The judge said that although the accused testified that she did not remember going for an overnight prayer meeting, she was not in her house that night.

Justice Sitati said the strangulation was corroborated by the injuries observed during the post-mortem examination.

“The court ordered for the mental assessment and the result was that she was fit to take plea. The court also examined her after she had given her defence and properly responded by stating her name and repeating what she had said on cross-examination,” Sitati ruled.

The judge noted that Liyema’s “strange behaviour” cannot be construed to mean mental illness.

A post-mortem report indicated that the child had no signs of prior illness and that she died as a result of a fracture above the neck. An artery in her left leg was also broken.

Sitati noted that Liyema must have known that sitting on the child and twisting her neck would have led to death. — Standard Digital.

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