Witness recounts how neighbour locked wife in house, set it on fire

A woman moved the court in Eldoret as she recounted how her neighbour locked his estranged wife inside their house and set it on fire reducing her to ashes.

Susan Jeruto told the Presiding judge Robert Wananda that the suspected killer, Wilfred Kiprotich 35, then walked to his grandmother’s house, locked her inside and set it on fire killing the elderly woman.

That day he killed two women.

The woman was testifying in a case where Kiprotich is charged with two counts among them the murder of wife Magdalene Biwott on November 12, 2021, at Tugen estate in Moiben sub-county, Uasin Gishu county.

The accused faces a second count which states that on the same date and place, he murdered his grandmother Valentine Jepkossgei.

The prosecution is led by Mark Mugun while the suspected killer is represented by Evans Oduor.

Jeruto narrated that on the fateful morning, she woke up and was met by sounds of wailing from the couple’s three children who were running towards her house.

“I came out of my house and asked them what was happening at their home, they said their father wanted to kill them after locking their mother inside their family house before setting it ablaze,” she said.

Jeruto said she decided to lock the children inside her house and rushed to her neighbour’s home where she saw a raging fire that had engulfed two houses.

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“When the accused person saw me coming to his home from a distance he unlocked his house that was already on fire and entered inside in an attempt to commit suicide,” Jeruto said.

She immediately raised the alarm and neighbours quickly managed to rescue him from the inferno before subjecting him to mob justice over the incident.

“The mob and police officers from Moiben police stations at the scene could not rescue the suspect’s wife and the grandmother as it was too late since their bodies had already been burned beyond recognition,” she added.

According to Jeruto, the couple has been having long-standing domestic wrangles and they did not expect the matter to turn into a double tragedy.

“The man always had issues with his estranged wife but the issues would be resolved through neighbours intervention,” she said.

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The matter was adjourned for further hearing on October 14, 2024.

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