Kenyan ex-TV anchor admits to lying to Australian police about son's death

Monday July 15 2019

Esther Arunga, a former TV presenter

Esther Arunga, a former TV presenter, during a media briefing in 2010 at Pizza Garden, Nairobi. She has admitted at an Australian court that she lied about the death of her son. PHOTO | HEZRON NJOROGE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

AGEWA WAINAINA
By AGEWA WAINAINA
More by this Author

A former television journalist from Kenya lied to police about the circumstances that led to her son’s death in bid to protect her husband.

The former KTN anchor Esther Arunga on Monday pleaded guilty to being an accessory to murder after the fact to manslaughter.

Ms Arunga admitted to lying to police in a bid to help her husband, Quincy Timberlake, to avoid punishment.

Mr Timberlake is accused of killing their three-year-old son Sinclair Timberlake. The boy died due to blunt force trauma to the abdomen in 2014 in their family home in Kallangur, Australia.

According to the Australian Associated Press, Crown Prosecutor Danny Boyle told the court that Ms Arunga had called the emergency services and told them that the boy had fallen down the stairs. An autopsy later revealed that the cause of death was “as a result of severe blunt force such as punching or stamping or similar”, which was not consistent with a fall.

TERRIFIED

Mr Boyle further said that Ms Arunga kept up the lie for 26 days only to open up when her husband was taken for a mental evaluation.

She then said that on the fateful night, she found Mr Timberlake hitting their son in the stomach and threw him against a wall. She had earlier told investigators that her husband was convinced that the boy had a devil in his stomach and he was trying to get it out.

“I was terrified of being alone and I felt terrible because my husband was sick as well,” she confessed to the police as to why she did not speak up earlier, AAP quotes.

Mr Boyle said that although Ms Arunga had not interfered with evidence, she had played a part in delaying the investigations and the arrest of the suspect.

Defence lawyer Katarina Prskalo said that Ms Arunga had believed her husband was unwell and had tried to get him help in 2013.

“She had not realised how unwell he was until the night of her son’s death,” Ms Prskalo said. She added that her client also had her own mental issues.

Justice Martin Burns will sentence her on Thursday.

Advertisement