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Woman in baby stealing case says mother wanted to kill her

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By BRIAN OCHARO
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A woman accused of stealing an eight-month-old baby in Mombasa on Monday shocked the court when she revealed that she rescued the infant from the mother who wanted to kill herself and the minor.

Margaret Wairimu Kihiko denied stealing the minor but informed the court that Joyce Wairimu, who is the baby’s mother, wanted to kill her.

“I have not committed any offence. I simply rescued the baby. Its mother wanted to kill herself together [and] the minor. I have evidence,” the woman told Shanzu Senior Principal Magistrate Diana Mochache.

The suspect insisted she did not steal the infant and that Ms Wairimu handed it over to her.

Ms Kihiko, Ms Wairimu and Ms Susan Nyambura were charged with child stealing, conspiracy to defeat justice and interfere with witnesses and compounding a felony.

The charge sheet indicates that the suspects jointly and fraudulently took the minor with the intent to deprive Peter Kairu Kinuthia, the parent who had lawful charge, of the possession of the child.

They are also accused of jointly conspiring to mislead investigating officers in order to obstruct the course of justice and also intimidate witnesses.

Ms Nyambura and Ms Kihiko are further accused of compounding a felony, where they are charged that they jointly agreed to receive a child for themselves upon an agreement that they will conceal an offence of child stealing.

Ms Wairimu, who wept during the entire court session, further was charged with the offence of giving false information to the police and also with child neglect.

The court heard that the suspect informed Police Constable Billy Onyango that the infant had been stolen, information the police said she knew to be false, intending to have the officer circulate information that the child was lost.

She was further charged with child neglect with the prosecution saying that she willingly gave her biological child, who was still breast feeding and required total care, to Ms Kihiko.

The infant was recovered in Mchorwi in Molo, Nakuru County while in the custody of Ms Kihika and Ms Nyambura under mysterious circumstances.

Investigators said the suspects have a wide network of abduction and theft of children for trade purposes.

The three suspects have been detained for five days to enable the police to finalise investigations after denying the offences which the prosecution said they committed on November 8, 2018 in Mishomoroni and Molo in Mombasa and Nakuru counties respectively.

The magistrate ordered the suspects to be detained at the DCI office in Kisauni after the police said they needed more time to investigate and apprehend more suspects who have been named as conspirators in the abduction.

She also ordered that the mother of the child be taken to hospital for mental assessment, terming the case as new to the court.

“It is very unlikely that a mother will give out her child. I will allow the police to hold the suspects for five days to finalise investigations. The child to be taken to a children’s home pending hearing and determination of the case,” she directed.

The magistrate allowed the father access to the infant.

Investigating officer Elizabeth Waithanji, in an affidavit, said investigations will go as far as Uganda.

“The preliminary investigations have revealed that the suspects are part of the cartels and organised crime syndicate engaged in child abduction and stealing for purposes of trade,” she said.

The detective asked the court to deny the accused bond and have them detained as she was apprehensive that should they be set free at the moment, there is a likelihood of them interfering with the remaining investigations, especially on their accomplices and potential witnesses.

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