Peter Mugure — the chief suspect in the murder of his wife and two children — was on Friday morning denied bail by the High Court, which said Mugure could interfere with witnesses should he be released.
Mugure will be remanded at the King’ong’o Maximum Prison pending the hearing and determination of the case against him.
While issuing the ruling, Nyeri High Court Judge, Jairus Ngaah, said the court was convinced that Mugure could abscond hearing, commit another offence if freed, or even interfere with witnesses.
The judge said the court relied on a statement issued by the investigating officer, Corporal Reuben Mwaniki of the DCI, who was opposed to the release of Mugure over the listed reasons.
Mwaniki had earlier told the court that Mugure had attempted to interfere with facts of the case.
Justice Ngaah noted that the suspect had sent his sister, Nancy Mugure, to persuade a co-accused in the murder case, Collins Pamba, to recant a statement he’d recorded with the police. Pamba said he was approached at Kerugoya Prison, where he was being remanded.
On Friday, Pamba narrated to the court how Mugure called him and handed over the bodies for disposal. He said Mugure promised him a job in the military during a subsequent recruitment exercise.
“He told me not to be shocked. He told me that this is the job he’d called me to perform. He told me never to tell anybody what I’d seen, and if he ever heard anything, he’d also kill me. He also assured me that he’d make sure that I will be recruited to the military during a national recruitment which was near. He told me to give him my academic certificates for that purpose. He told me to assist him carry the bodies to his vehicle parked at the parking bay,” the co-accused told the court.
The judge noted that Pamba’s allegation was serious, and that it showed Mugure had already made an attempt of intimidating a witness, despite the fact that he [Mugure] was still in custody.
“If he is set free on bond, the intimidation may get worse,” said the judge.
The murder case against Mugure and Pamba will be heard on March 23, 2020.
Mugure, a former Air Force Major, was first arraigned on November 18, 2019. The court — at the time — ordered that he should continue being detained as he waited to be charged.
He was later charged on January 10, 2020 after detectives concluded investigations, and subjected the suspect to mental examination.
Mugure was arrested after detectives, on November 16, 2019, retrieved the bodies of his estranged wife Joyce Syombua, 31, children Shanice Maua, 10, and Prince Michael, 5, at a cemetery in Thingithu area near the Laikipia Air Base.
The Directorate of Criminal Investigations’ (DCI) Serious Crimes Unit indicated the bodies had been piled on top of each other inside a shallow grave.
The accused was said to have hosted the three — residents of Kayole, Nairobi — at the Laikipia Air Base where they stayed before they went missing on October 25.
Collins Pamba, a 21-year-old worker at the senior officer’s mess within the military base, led detectives to the cemetery where the bodies of the mother and her two children were exhumed.
Mugure was arrested on November 15, 2019.
The ex-Air Force senior officer had, prior to the incident, been ordered by the courts to pay Ksh75, 000 monthly maintenance for his two children after DNA test results showed he had sired the minors.