A man who killed his wife and burnt her body after a domestic fight has had his death sentence reduced to 20 years in prison by the Court of Appeal.

Charles Njonjo successfully appealed for a review of the conviction and sentence before Justices Erastus Githinji, Wanjiru Karanja, and Sankale ole Kantai.

Njonjo was found guilty of burning her wife Regina Nyambura.

She later died at the Kenyatta National Hospital while undergoing treatment.

Nyambura had been taken to Thika Level 4 hospital by her neighbour Mercy Mburu after she knocked on her door on 5th April, 2009 at night.

She had escaped from her husband’s house while burning.

Njonjo and his brother turned up at Mburu’s home shortly thereafter and a quarrel ensued.

They left after Mburu warned them to stop quarrelling and they proceeded to Kajeria police post where Njonjo reported that his wife had attempted to kill herself.

The two had a dispute a day before and the deceased reported the matter at the assistant chief’s office before the incident where she was burnt.

Her body had sustained 54 percent burns and succumbed to the injuries months later precipitating murder charges for Njonjo.

Njonjo was found guilty of murder and sentenced to suffer death on July 22, 2010 by (then) high court judge Jessie Lesiit who imposed a death sentence on him. But the appellate judges reviewed the conviction and sentence.

The judges said the evidence adduced and circumstances did not amount to murder but a manslaughter.

“After a careful consideration of the evidence before us in entirety, our finding is that the appellant (Njonjo) was responsible for the death of the deceased. However, mens rea (murder plot) was not proved. Accordingly, we find the charge of murder not proved to the required standard,” they ruled.

“Instead, the evidence discloses the lesser cognate offence of manslaughter. Accordingly, we set aside conviction for the offence of murder and the death sentence imposed by the trial court and substitute therefor a conviction for the offence of.”

They said that having considered the circumstances surrounding the matter they are persuaded that a sentence of 20 years imprisonment from the date of conviction is mete and just, and we impose the same.



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