Kenyan Marathon hero's kin in court over funeral

Thursday May 19 2011

The World beater Samuel Wanjiru (left) and his wife Teresia Kamau hold their daughter Ann Wanjiru for a photo. Photo /JOSEPH KANYI

Samuel Wanjiru (left) and his wife Teresia Kamau with their daughter Ann Wanjiru. Photo/JOSEPH KANYI 


The issue of the funeral of Kenyan Olympic marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru has gone to the courts.

His mother has obtained orders from a High Court judge blocking his wife from burying him.

Justice Anyara Emukule granted a 14-day injunction after Ms Hanna Wanjiru went to court to stop Ms Teresia Njeri from burying her husband.

Wanjiru died after falling off a balcony during a domestic confrontation after his wife found him in bed with a waitress.

Ms Hanna Wanjiru has been vocal in insisting that her son was killed and claims that there was blood in the living room of his house.

The athlete’s body will stay at Nairobi's Lee Funeral Home until the court sitting in the central Kenya town of Nakuru hears both parties.

The mother accuses Ms Njeri of making arrangements to bury her son on May 24 without involving her. She does not even recognise Ms Njeri as her son’s wife, though almost everyone else, including the police, do.

Shaming dispute

Mr Wilfred Konosi, representing the star’s mother, said his client wanted investigations into the athlete’s death completed and a post-mortem carried out.

“Given the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr Wanjiru, my client wants to ascertain the cause of death before the burial of her son,” he said.

The judge granted the order but asked the lawyer to find other ways of settling the dispute without shaming the champion marathoner through a court battle over his body.

“It is almost shameful having to take this route about the fallen national hero. I believe he deserves a decent send-off,” said Justice Emukule. The case will be heard on June 2.

Outside the court, Mr Konosi said his client was open to dialogue. On top of claiming that her son was murdered, Ms Hanna Wanjiru also says another woman, Ms Mary Wacera, is her son’s wife and that he paid dowry for her.

Back in Wanjiru’s hometown of Nyahururu, family and friends were shown CCTV recordings from the night he died. However, even though the house was covered by nine cameras, there was no recording of the balcony area from which the star athlete is reported to have fallen.

Five of the cameras were operational and a recording of what went on at the gate was played. A camera mounted on top of the balcony was angled to cover the gate and not the area below.

Another one at the gate covering the house, including the balcony, was apparently not operational.