Aug 4, 2021

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Murdered conservationist Joannah Stutchbury’s son had feared for her safety

But the full ballistic report on the fired ammunition will be released today (Thursday), and police said that will determine how their investigations will proceed.

Speaking to the Nation, Kiambu East Directorate of Criminal Investigations Officer Dennis Wekesa said they were working on several leads.

“We need to first verify a few things before we engage in arrests or anything. But at the moment, we need to get everything clear,” he said.

An assassination of this kind, he said, requires meticulous fact finding before any arrests can be made.

Mr Wekesa also revealed that a son of Ms Stutchbury had shared with the police his concerns about her safety in relation to her work, which saw her cross paths with individuals hell-bent on destroying parts of Kiambu Forest.

Rogue private developers

It is in the public domain that the slain environmentalist had brushed shoulders with rogue private developers, whom one of her colleagues described as “powerful fellows”, for felling down trees at the wetland.

“There is speculation that the developers may have been involved. However, if you say someone committed the crime, can we put him in that scenario even if we want to use circumstantial evidence?” Mr Wekesa said.

“It is about putting the suspected fellow to the crime scene or to the activities surrounding the crime.”

With regards to the case, court documents shared with the media showed that Ms Stutchbury had a pending case in the Environment and Land Court in Kiambu Law Courts when she died.

Agropack Ltd officials had filed a complaint against her and the Kenya Forest Service for obstructing their efforts to create an access road through the State-protected forest land.

Threatened several times

A damning affidavit penned by Ms Stutchbury, 64, revealed employees of the company had threatened her several times and at one point she heard one of the workers say they should finish her off.

“I reported to the Kiambu Police Station as follows: OB 28/16/02/2018 at about 1120 hours with Corporal Mugambi (16th February) where the said Plaintiff’s/Applicants Company said “Maliza huyu mzungu”, which translates to “finish this white person,” the fearful conservationist told the court.

While acknowledging that police were aware of the implications of what the damning court case affidavits meant, Mr Wekesa said they were not going to solely depend on it but would follow the right procedures.

As of Wednesday, sleuths had no specific suspect that they were hunting.

“Agropack is a registered company. We will want to get details of the company from the registrar of companies and every other fact will follow from there,” he said.

“Those words going round regarding the company’s involvement are just words on the streets. Once we have verified everything, we will proceed and make arrests.”

Post-mortem

Though the post-mortem on Ms Stutchbury’s body showed that she was shot six times, police maintained that she was shot thrice and that some of the bullets made more than one entry point.

“The issue of six bullets is from a pathological point of view, that is the entry and exit points of the bullets, but for us, it remains three because some of these entries are multiple. For example, the bullet that went through the hand went to the head,” Mr Wekesa said.

Detectives had last week confirmed that they found three spent cartridges and had forwarded them to a lab for forensic and ballistic examinations.

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