By Patrick Mutisya,
Onesmus Masaku, the Makueni-based lawyer whose hand was chopped by a policewoman, constable Nancy Njeri, in unclear circumstances has died.
The advocate died on Sunday morning at the Kenyatta National Hospital where he was receiving treatment following the brutal attack at his house in Wote town by the policewoman.
His death was confirmed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi and Southeastern LSK representative Justus Mutia.
The LSK President told K24 Digital that Masaku succumbed to his injuries at the KNH’s intensive care unit, where he was receiving specialised care.
“I can confirm that Onesmus Masaku passed away at 6 am today after spending nearly two weeks at the ICU wing of Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi. It is a sad development to the lawyers’ fraternity,” Havi told K24 Digital on phone.
“The case against the chief suspect in Masaku’s death, Njeri, was scheduled for mention on October 23. We are now demanding that the DPP amends charges to be pressed against the suspect. The criminal offence should now be murder, and not attempted murder as earlier documented,” said Havi.
The LSK president said he will lead a battery of lawyers in the criminal case against Njeri.
Havi also wants legal action instituted against DCI officers, who first recorded Njeri’s statement, in which she alleged that Masaku wanted to rape her, and that she attacked him in self-defense.
“The DCI officer(s) and police officers, who first entered Njeri’s statement as a fact, should be charged with conspiring to conceal murder.”
The suspect, Njeri, is still being held at the Makueni Police Station after the court gave police 14 days to complete investigations into the attack.
On October 8, police arrested constable Njeri, who on October 7, attacked Masaku, leaving him with serious injuries.
Constable Njeri, attached to Wote Police Station, is said to have attacked Masaku in his house and cut both his hands with a panga.
The lawyer was on October 8, transferred from Makueni Referral Hospital to Kenyatta National Hospital for specialised treatment after his condition deteriorated.
Njeri had claimed she went to the lawyer’s house in the evening of October 7, on his invitation.
She further claimed that while in the house, Masaku attempted to rape her but she grabbed a panga with which she defended herself.
She cut the lawyer on both hands, inflicting serious injuries on him.
The first police report had suggested the woman was a victim of attempted rape and that her action (attacking the lawyer) was out of self-defense.
“She was invited by one Onesmus Masaku, a lawyer within Makueni, to his house in Westlands area of Wote Township with the aim of introducing her to his would-be wife.
While in the said house, the lawyer changed the story and demanded to have sex with her,” the initial report said.
“She refused but the lawyer advanced. When she still refused, the lawyer grabbed her and started forcing her into the bedroom.
“This prompted the officer to grab a panga and cut him on both hands before managing to escape.”
Police said the officer sustained a bite on her right ear and on her hands. Both went to Makueni Referral Hospital but the officer was discharged.
However, the station later submitted a “progress report” to Police headquarters indicating detectives had visited the scene and established the lawyer had been seriously injured by the officer.
“The scene was revisited and it was established that Onesmus Masaku was seriously injured by Constable Nancy Njeri with a panga, which was recovered at the scene,” the updated report said.
Investigations were launched and a preliminary report indicated the officer may have gone to the lawyer’s house with the intention of attacking him over a relationship gone sour.
Detectives who visited the scene said there was evidence of a struggle as there were blood stains on the walls and table.
The Law Society of Kenya on October 8 condemned the incident and asked the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to investigate the matter.
“Police in Makueni are complicit in the attempted murder of lawyer Onesmus Masaku by policewoman Nancy Njeri.
“The two are known lovers and Njeri attempted to kill him after he refused to accede to her demands for marriage,” LSK President Nelson Havi said.
Following pressure from lawyers and revelations by people who knew about the relationship between the two, police submitted a third report indicating the officer had been arrested.
The third report read: “Following a serious injury incident of one Onesmus Madaku, a lawyer at Makueni Law Courts by Constable Nancy Njeri, the officer has been arrested and will be arraigned in court with the offence of attempted murder.”
Detectives said they had recovered a black bag containing a water heater, two mobile phones, a pair of scissors and a dress in the lawyer’s house.
Constable Nancy Njeri was on October 9 detained for 14 days to allow investigations into Masaku’s death.
Njeri had been arraigned before Senior Resident Magistrate Caroline Ocharo in Machakos Court.