British businessman on trial in Kenya for murder could be freed after the family of the woman who was killed called for the case to be dropped because her death was “not intentional.”
Kenyan national Grace Wangechi Kinyanjui 42, died from a single gunshot wound when she was at the mansion of former Deloitte executive Richard Alden, 52.
Mr Alden, from Cowbridge, South Wales, denies her murder and has claimed he was in a different room when she was shot in his bedroom.
A post-mortem found that the bullet entered on the right side of her back and exited through her neck.
Prosecutors told the court earlier this year that this was proof Ms Kinyanjui, who worked for a security firm, could not have shot herself.
As Mr Alden’s murder trial was due to begin in Nairobi on Tuesday, lawyer Patrick Ngunjiri who is representing Ms Kinyanjui’s family, told the judge that her family had sent a letter to Kenya’s Director of Public Prosecutions on 16 Nov which would “determine whether this matter will proceed to trial.”
Magistrate Roselyne Kiror adjourned the case yesterday[tue] for the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider the family’s request.
Outside court Mr Ngunjiri said: “We don’t intend to have the matter prosecuted because the family believes, after weighing up the evidence and the matters surrounding this incident, this was not an intentional murder.”
Asked whether the family think Ms Kinyanjui shot herself he said: “No”.
He added: “It was a mistake. It was an accident. The deceased and the accused are friends. They used to hold sporting events together and charitable events. The deceased went to the accused’s home voluntarily.”
Mr Ngunjiri denied any settlement or compensation had been arranged between Mr Alden and Ms Kinyanjui’s family.
“They are doing it voluntarily. They don’t believe this trial should go on,” he said.
A lawyer close to the case said the family’s request was unusual as usually the families of the deceased press police to pursue proceedings.
On Monday Mr Alden’s wife Martine and his daughter Sophia were in the public gallery sat next to members of Ms Kinyanjui’s family.
On the day of her death on June 4 this year, Ms Kinyanjui had allegedly been helping Mr Alden pack for an upcoming move from Nairobi’s exclusive Karen district to Nanyuki, a town in central Kenya, while Martine was in London.
The Aldens and Ms Kinyanjui knew each other through a local hiking group and had participated in a marathon together the previous year.
Mr Alden and his wife have been living in Kenya since 2013 where he became CEO of Wananchi Group, one of East Africa’s biggest internet providers, until 2015.
Murder is punishable by death in Kenya, but no one has been executed since 1986, and last month president Uhuru Kenyatta commuted the sentences of everyone on death row to life imprisonment.
The case will return to court on 30 January.