The paramour of the late Olympic gold medalist, Samuel Wanjiru, has lifted the lid on what transpired on the night of May 15, 2011, when the marathoner’s widow busted them in bed at the celebrated athlete’s home in Muthaiga Estate, Nyahururu Town.
Jane Nduta, who on Tuesday, August 20, testified before Nairobi Chief Magistrate Francis Andayi, confirmed that she was indeed the woman Wanjiru’s widow, Teresia Njeri, found in the athlete’s company on the night he allegedly plunged to his death from a balcony.
“When she (Njeri) caught Wanjiru and I in bed, she tried to burn me with hot water. I, however, overpowered her, and scalded her with the water she was carrying. She, thereafter, bolted out of the room and locked the house’s main door from the outside,” Ms Nduta told the court.
“At the time, Ms Njeri busted and attacked me, Wanjiru was deep asleep,” said Ms Nduta.
Ms Nduta said she woke up the marathoner and informed him that his wife had forcibly confined them to the house.
Ms Nduta claims Wanjiru moved her to another bedroom, and, thereafter, embarked on imploring his wife to hand over the house keys to him.
Ms Njeri, however, declined to heed to Wanjiru’s plea, Ms Nduta said.
The witness said Wanjiru, thereafter, dashed out of the bedroom, and the next thing she could hear, was the marathoner exchanging bitter words with his wife. The period that exchange lasted, Ms Nduta did not reveal.
“After a while, I heard a police siren in the compound, and when I looked outside, I saw Wanjiru’s body being carried and put in a waiting police van by five law enforcement officers. Blood was, at the time, oozing from Wanjiru’s nose and mouth,” she said.
Ms Nduta told the court that she remained indoors until police broke down the bedroom door and, thereafter, arrested her.
Attempts by Ms Njeri’s lawyer, James Ndegwa Wahome, to cross-examine Ms Nduta, were thwarted after Wanjiru’s mother, Hannah Wanjiru, claimed that Wahome was a witness in the inquest, and, therefore, he wasn’t eligible to probe Ms Nduta.
State Prosecutor, Kajuju Kirimi’s attempts to convince the magistrate that Mr Wahome is not listed as a witness in the inquest bore no fruit.
Magistrate Andayi, went ahead to prohibit Mr Wahome from cross-examining Ms Nduta until it is established that he is not a witness in the inquest.
In her interrupted testimony, Wanjiru’s lover told the court that earlier on May 15, 2011, she met the 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist at a bar in Nyahururu Town, where he bought her beer and food.
“He, thereafter, took me to his home,” said Ms Nduta.
Magistrate Andayi adjourned the inquest to Wednesday, August 21, when the court would have been informed whether Ms Njeri’s lawyer, Mr Wahome, is qualified to cross-examine Ms Nduta.
Other witnesses are also lined up to testify in the inquest that continues on Wednesday and Thursday.
The inquest will, at the end of it, reveal whether Wanjiru was killed or he plunged to his death.
-Wanjiru was killed: Mother-
Ms Nduta’s testimony comes two years after Hannah Wanjiru alleged that her son was killed and attempts were made to cover up the incident.
In March, 2017, the inquest heard that when the mother visited the home with an investigator a day after the marathoner’s death, she found blood in his bedroom and his Ms Njeri’s sister was busy cleaning up the mess.
Wanjiru’s mother also alleged there was blood on the door and two metal bars and added that a number of tiles on the floor had been broken.
“I asked why she was cleaning the room and whether she was trying to conceal evidence,” Hannah said.
According to her, the living room was tainted with blood as well.
She further told the inquest that Wanjiru’s widow, Ms Njeri, had left their matrimonial home in Nyahururu, three months before her husband died.
However, Wanjiru’s mother told the inquest that three days before her son died, Ms Njeri returned to pick her children’s birth certificates. Coincidentally, Wanjiru had also returned from his training session in Eldoret.
On the fateful night, Hannah told chief magistrate Francis Andayi that her daughter in-law claimed that she found him with another woman in their matrimonial bed.
In April, 2017, Wanjiru’s widow, Ms Njeri, told an inquest how she found her husband with Ms Nduta in their bedroom.
In her testimony, Ms Njeri said Ms Nduta tried to strangle her when she busted the two.
The widow told chief magistrate Andayi that on the night of May 15, 2011, she returned home to find Wanjiru with a strange woman in their matrimonial bed.
“When I came back home from the house of my husband’s lorry driver, James Maara Mahia, at around 10pm, I found Kamau sleeping with a strange woman in our bedroom,” said Ms Njeri.
The inquest heard that Ms Nduta told Ms Njeri the home belonged to her (Nduta), leading to a confrontation.
She told the court that she was shocked because the watchman had not told her Wanjiru had returned home with another woman.
She said Ms Nduta told her Wanjiru had bought her another house in Ngong and that the house at Muthaiga, Nyahururu, belonged to her.
“Nduta jumped from the bed and grabbed my neck. The corner lights were on and I could see her,” said Ms Njeri.
She said she saw Wanjiru sleeping facing up, with his eyes closed, but he never talked to her.
Ms Njeri said she left the bedroom, locked the door with a padlock and also locked the metal gate leading from the bedroom to downstairs. She fled downstairs and made her way to the gate.
She said she took the keys from the watchman and called the area OCS to report that Wanjiru had come home with another woman and she feared for her life because the woman had tried to kill her.
In the meantime, Wanjiru went to the balcony and shouted at her to open the gate leading out of the bedroom.
Ms Njeri told the court that she refused to open the gate because she feared for her life; she said Wanjiru had previously threatened her with a gun. She told the marathoner to wait for police officers to arrive and open for him.
She explained that the OCS, who was aware of their numerous domestic fights, sent policemen on patrol to her home.
Ms Njeri fled to Busara Nursery School to seek help in vain. She then called Mr Maara and explained what had happened.
She returned to his house but found he was not there as he was on his way to her Muthaiga home.
While she was still at Maara’s house, he (Maara) called Ms Njeri and told her that Wanjiru had fallen from the balcony and had been taken to hospital by the police.
She went to record a statement with the police, who then escorted her home where they took photos of where Wanjiru had fallen but did not enter the house. She said she saw blood on the ground below the balcony.
She later returned to the police station.
“At the station, I heard a police officer say Wanjiru had died. I was not allowed to go and see him until 6am the next day,” Ms Njeri said.
It was at the police station that she learnt her husband had succumbed to his injuries and had been taken to the Nyahururu District Hospital mortuary.
At the morgue, Ms Njeri came face to face with her mother-in-law, Hannah Wanjiru, who, she said, accused her of killing her son with a metal bar. The police separated the two, who were on the verge of fighting each other.
Meanwhile, Haki Za Wanaume International has expressed concern at the inquest’s slow progress.
Magistrate Andayi said the lobby has written to him on three separate occasions, beginning 2014, to complain about the inquest’s “snail pace, and exclusion of key witnesses”.
Some of the key witnesses Haki za Wanaume want called to testify include: Josephat Ombati (Nyandarua North OCPD), a Mr Chemboi from the DCI headquarters on Kiambu Road, a Mr Ogola, who was the then-Nyahururu police station boss, and a representative from Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi.
-Wanjiru’s death wasn’t suicide: Agent-
On May 16, 2011, the then-National police spokesman Eric Kiraithe said Wanjiru killed himself but Nyahururu police chief, Jasper Ombati, said it may have been an accident during a confrontation with his wife.
Wanjiru suffered internal injuries as a result of the fall and was pronounced dead in hospital after attempts to revive him failed. He died aged 24.
Wanjiru’s agent, Federico Rosa, said at the time that he was “100% sure” it was not suicide.
Wanjiru took part in the August, 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where he emerged the winner in the full marathon race (42.2 kilometers). He completed the distance in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 32 seconds, breaking the Olympic record that was set three years before he was born by nearly three minutes.
As well as becoming the youngest Olympic champion (aged 21) since 1932, Wanjiru also set marathon course records in London and Chicago.