Verdict Given To The Endarasha Dorm Fire Suspects


A court hearing the case of the Endarasha High School dorm fire in which two students died in 2010 has acquitted all the 14 suspects.

Justice Jairus Ngaah, sitting in Nyeri, said murder was proved beyond reasonable doubt but questioned whether the accused were involved as none of the witnesses saw any of them.

The suspects are Oby Tylene Oyugi, Derrick Wambugu, Davin Ndung’u, Andrew Kandia, Edward Karugu, Stephen Ndirangu, Wilson Wahome, Peter Njoroge, Arnold Mwaura, Ayub Kung’u, Kevin Muya and Gerishon Mwangi.

The students were charged alongside businessmen Fredrick Githinji Wangai, who was linked to a petrol station, and Stephen Mwaniki Mutahi.

Speaking after his acquittal outside the Nyeri law courts, one of the suspects criticised the police, whom he said wrongfully arrested him as he had nothing to do with the fire.

Ndung’u, a suspect who was a student at Endarasha, said when the case broke out he was in Form 1, but managed to clear his secondary school education as the case was ongoing.

He said the case has hurt his employment prospects as he could not secure a certificate of good conduct.

“I am grateful to the judge for delivering justice,” Ndung’u.

Form One students Kennedy Karugu and Joseph Mwangi died when a fire razed Wambugu dormitory on the night of October 17, 2010.

In 2011, students had unsuccessfully tried twice to burn the school in Nyeri.

In that year, Nyeri High Court judge Joseph Sergon was told that authorities at Endarasha High School in Kieni West District, Nyeri County, had on two occasions stopped arson attempts by students.

Mathematics teacher William Mbogo Githu in 2011 said students attempted to burn the institution again early that year and immediately after reopening for the third term in September.

The teacher, however, told a packed courtroom that the school, where he has taught for the last 28 years, was steadily recovering from the indiscipline experienced last year.

In 2018, however, the State wanted 12 students of Endarasha Boys’ High School accused of causing the fire that killed two colleagues sentenced to death.

In his submissions at the time, State Counsel Njagi Njue told Justice Ngaah that the Director of Public Prosecutions was relying on circumstantial evidence to have the 14 suspects convicted for murder.

“In light of circumstantial evidence by witnesses, this court should put the accused persons on their defence,” Njue said.

He said the 14 were directly or indirectly responsible for the fire that killed Mwangi and Karugu.


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