Masten Wanjala: Court told there were no locks on cell cubicles on escape night

(R-L)Inspector Philip Mbithi, Constable Kamakia Boniface and Precious Mwende before a Nairobi court where they denied aiding Wanjala to escape. Photo/courtesy

The court has been told that Jogoo Road police station where the late self-proclaimed serial killer Masten Wanjala was being detained had no locks on the cell cubicles.

During his testimony, PC Nevile Mwabigi Mwanchoki who was on duty that day said the cell block only has one lock on the main door and another on the female cell door but none on the three male cells.

Testifying before Senior Principal Magistrate K.K Ondieki, Mwabigi told the court that Wanjala was in the cell at the time he finished his shift at around 8PM.

The court heard that Wanjala would be detained in the female cell when it was empty but would be put in the cell without lock when a female prisoner is brought.

During cross-examination by lawyer Danstan Omari who represents the three police officers charged with aiding Wanjala to escape, questioned why there was no extra security for Wanjala due to the seriousness of the offence he was accused of.

“He was a serial killer but there was no security for this person. He was dealt with like any other offender. There was no extra surveillance to deal with this person,” said Omari.

The officer also testified that on the fateful night Wanjala is alleged to have escaped, there was a blackout at the station and they used a phone torch to check the suspects during change of shift.

According to Mwabili, he was with the second accused Boniface Kamakia who was one of the officers supposed to take over from him when he was checking if all the prisoners were there.

The charges

The officers, Inspector Philip Mbithi, Constables Kamakia Boniface and Precious Mwende are charged with aiding Masten Wanjala to escape from lawful custody on the night of 12 and 13 October 2021.

The officer are also charged with willfully neglecting to prevent Wanjala, from escaping, as required by National Police Service Act. 

After his disappearance, Wanjala was spotted in his village in Bungoma County and was subjected to mob injustice by the locals.

The officer denied conniving to release Wanjala without lawful authority.

Omari put it to the officer that the DCI officers who picked Wanjala to take him for mental assessment at Mathari hospital picked him to execute him and never returned him to the cells.

During cross-examination by lawyer Martina Swiga, PC Mwabigi said he could not recall for how long Wanjala was held in the female cell.

Questioned about the lighting at the station on that particular day, the officer testified that there was no light at the station and even though there was a backup generator, it was not turned on.