Inquest into Olympic champion’s death delayed

Nairobi, Feb 17: A Kenyan court Monday directed the inquest into the sudden death of 2008 Beijing Olympics marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru to be heard March 14.

Nairobi magistrate Hannah Ndungu put off the hearing of the inquest after Wanjiru’s widow Triza Njeri and mother Hannah informed the court they had not finalised going through all witness statements and police files related to the case, reports Xinhua.

As such, lawyers acting for the two argued, they could not effectively cross-examine the witnesses who have been lined up to explain the sequence of events on the night of May 15, 2011 that led to the death of the two-time Chicago and 2010 London Marathon winner.

Senior state counsel Catherine Mwaniki has lined up more than 20 witnesses to shed light on circumstances that led to the death said to have resulted from injuries sustained from a fall from the balcony of his residence in Nyahururu’s Muthaiga Estate.

Wanjiru’s inquest has delayed for close to three years following disagreement between Wanjiru’s widow and her mother-in-law over the suitable venue with Njeri urging it to be held in Nyahururu where the incident occurred.

The late champion’s mother, on the other hand, maintained it should be heard in a neutral venue and got her wishes when Nakuru High Court Judge Anyara Emukule directed the inquest be conducted here by a chief magistrate June 10, 2012 without giving reasons.

Last December, the widow sought an explanation for the ruling to be made through her lawyer Wahome Ndegwa but did not succeed.

Wanjiru holds the 2:06:32 Olympic marathon record and is the only athlete to win the $500,000 World Marathon Majors jackpot twice.